Most helpful positive review
61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
Excellent book on being a Christian father and husband
on August 20, 2004
This is an excellent and inspiring book for all men who want to be what God has called them to be. I think most men know that we're not living up to all that we could or should be, but so many of us don't know what to do about it. We're not being "real men." So many of us didn't have good role models in our own fathers, and this book can help fill in the gaps. For example, I use this book when working with young men whose wives or (more often) girlfriends are pregnant at the Crisis Pregnancy Center where my wife and I volunteer.
Now, for those of you who may be thinking "Oh no, not another 'get naked and beat tribal drums' book," Weber discusses several of the "drum beating" types of books, fairly discussing their positive points but concluding that they fall way short of where they need to in their search for authentic manhood. To find what men are made to be, you have to go back to the Author himself: past one man's personal insights into himself, past ancient tribal customs, past the "old stories": to the original Author Himself. This is a very Biblically-based book, and Weber makes no apologies for that.
Weber divides manhood into four divisions, which he calls King, Warrior, Mentor, and Friend. This general theme is discussed in some other books on manhood (as Weber admits) but not as Biblically as Weber does it. For example, another book calls them "blueprints" of a man: Weber says he prefers to think of them as "fingerprints" of the man's Creator.
But Weber doesn't hang his entire book on these four (rather arbitrary) divisions. Weber then finds a common thread throughout all of them: Initiative. I think this idea of Initiative being the core of manhood was one of the most insightful single contributions Weber makes. To quote: "Just as a compass without a needle is not a compass, a man without Initiative is not a man." Perfect.
He also very clearly shows how Initiative is not equal to being Bossy. Taking Initiative means taking initiative in helping out around the house, in saying you're sorry, in asking your wife's help, in asking "what do my wife and kids need right now that I can help with?" It's about as far from bossy or (in the tiresome language of critics) "50's Ozzie and Harriet" as you can get.
Most of the rest of the book is spent working out how the four divisions of manhood and the central thread of Initiative applies to various situations and people in a man's life. The chapter "Does Anyone Here Speak 'Woman'?" is worth the price of the book.
I only have two very tiny negative comments about the book. First, the war-time metaphors and examples from Weber's own life as an Army Ranger won't appeal to everybody. For myself, I enjoyed reading them and they helped, but found it difficult to relate in a few cases because I my background isn't the same. One can't fault Weber that much, though: he simply wrote as who he is.
Second, I think this book would be best with an older, more mature man alongside a younger one. (I am working with two younger men right now.) It might not impact a young man as strongly if given to him if he is not able to have an older (or at least same maturity level) man come alongside him. The obvious solution: be that older man. Don't just give it to your kids: work through it with them, and encourage them to work with their friends.
I also bought the audio version of this book. I have two negative comments about the audio version. First, it's only available on cassette. I wanted to give somebody a copy of it, but he can only play CDs, so I had to buy it on cassette, rip it, and burn to CD. (Yes, I did this all legally.) That was a drag, and the resulting quality is rather low. Second, the audio version is not only shorter, but actually combines two chapters from the book (9 and 10). This makes it hard to track against the book. However, it is still a positive for those who are auditory learners and have more time to listen than to read. As most men probably fall into this category, I hope the publisher will consider bringing the audio version out on CD.
In summary: get this book, read it, highlight it, re-read it, work through it with your friends. And watch God turn you into the man you know you were created to be.