"Serious books about fraternity life are few, and it merits prominent placement in the stacks of collegiate libraries."
-Men and Masculinities
"Stunning. . . one of the finest 'masculinity histories.' . . . This well written, carefully argued, and (in the conclusion) deftly polemical book is an excellent example of what modern historiography can achieve. It should be required reading for campus administrators, if not the parents of prospective fraternity members, and will in addition be of use to any American Studies scholar interested in gender, masculinity studies, social history, institutional history, literary and cultural studies."
"Vibrantly written. . . . To a remarkable degree, Syrett connects developments within both American society generally and American higher education specifically to explain the behavior of white fraternity men. . . . One of the best histories of college student life in recent years."
-History of Education Quarterly
"[An] engaging, readable, and ultimately disturbing history of white college fraternites."
-Journal of Southern History
"By researching fraternities found throughout the country and over two centuries, Syrett is able to make a comprehensive and important contribution to the history of sexuality, social life, and gender on college campuses. . . . He has helped to open the door for scholars to research fraternities and parts of extracurricular life as worthy historical topics."
"Six crisp, deeply researched chapters trace changes from the ideals of brotherhood and genteel manliness that gave birth to fraternities to those of masculinity linked to athleticism, sexual prowess, and the like that appeared by 2000. . . . Highly recommended."
"A welcome addition to gender history and the history of education. . . . Masculinity specialists, historians of the nineteenth century, and historians of education will value Syrett's extensive research, impressive contextualization, and convincing argument that fraternities participated in the changing ideals of manhood."
-Journal of American History
"Careful, convincing, and well grounded in many primary sources. . . Highly readable."
-History News Network
"There is a lot to learn from its pages; what is so rewarding about the text is its speculations about the advance--and possibly the decline--of American culture that it provokes. The more deeply Syrett probes, the more one wonders: what is our world coming to?"
-American Historical Review
"The first [history of white fraternities in America]."
Tracing the history of white college fraternities in America from their days in antebellum all-male schools to modern-day college campus, Syrett reveals how fraternity brothers have defined masculinity over the course of their 180-year history. Based on extensive research at 12 different schools and analyzing 20 national fraternities, this book explores many factors--such as class, religiosity, race, sexuality, athleticism, intelligence, and recklessness--that have contributed to versions of fraternal masculinity at different times.
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