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The Courage to Raise Good Men Paperback – March 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (March 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140175679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140175677
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #587,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ever since the Industrial Revolution, the authors assert, our society has required men not only to break away from their mothers, but also from those qualities and emotions associated with "mother." Male offspring are expected to leave home, often before they are ready, and many mothers unconsciously distance their sons physically--by not hugging them, or by sending them away to school--or emotionally--by discouraging their "feminine" emotions or never becoming very close to them. Drawing on clinical case histories and images of men from popular and classic films and fiction, Silverstein, a therapist at the Ackerman Institute for Family Therapy in New York City, and freelance writer Rashbaum convincingly show how this forced gender split results in unhappy, unfulfilled men and perpetuates a patriarchal system that shortchanges men and women alike. Mothers of male offspring, stress the authors, can break through these emotional barriers, or avoid building them, by having the courage to discard cultural conventions of how to raise sons and instead become "agents of their own values."
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Drawing on both her experience as a mother and her expertise in family therapy, Silverstein casts a highly critical eye on how we raise boys. She uses many examples from popular culture, especially current films, to illustrate societal rejection of the mother and the elevation of boys to inappropriate levels as caretakers of women. She places specific emphasis on adolescence, a time when boys are expected to make a "clean break from home." This practice, she claims, often results in lifelong feelings of abandonment and estrangement from women. Silverstein rejects Robert Bly (Iron John, Audio Reviews, LJ 10/15/92) and dubs the male role model a myth, calling instead for a complete cultural overhaul. Her lucid, concise reading employs a compassionate rather than a confrontational tone. Whether one agrees with Silverstein or not, she offers a great deal to consider and provides an interesting balance to other entries in the gender debate. For most parenting collections.
Jeanne P. Leader, Western Nebraska Community Coll. Lib., Scottsbluff
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

I certainly agree that boys need NOT be pushed away from Moms (and love and comfort!)
Blair
It is a brilliant book with many compelling examples and its arguments are wholly consistent with common sense and instinct.
Amazon Customer
When we come to understand this unconscious behavior we can counteract it and have the lasting connection we want.
Laurie Puhn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
When I found out I was having a boy, I was distressed, given that I come from a family of all girls and had no experience with boys. I also don't find most men very appealing on a human level. I doubted my ability to have and maintain a close relationship with a boy-man and this was a matter of some sadness to me.
This book exposed my expectations for what they were - socially induced, i.e. mothers shouldn't be too close to their male children, or they will emasculate them, etc. It is a brilliant book with many compelling examples and its arguments are wholly consistent with common sense and instinct. My husband read some of it and thought its hypothesis was obvious, but it is strikingly different in its prescriptions than any other book on raising boys that I have read. (For instance, the "Wonder of Boys," which says mothers have to leave their sons alone, let them be driven by testosterone into competitiveness, roughness, and machoism, and basically seems to take the attitude that mothers are responsible for most problems their boys have growing up.
This is a positive, hopeful book, displaying warmth and compassion, and seems much more pyschologically sound. It should be required reading of all mothers, along with "Real Boys" of Pollock, which is its more recent successor.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
I came to the dialog of gender issues from a feminist perspective. I believed, after becoming the mother of two boys, that I pretty much understood gender issues as they related to boys...that is until my two and half year old wanted to buy purple boots. All of a sudden I found myself concerned (afraid!) of what other mothers and his peers would say (or think) about those purple boots. Without shaming him outloud, I subtly directed him toward the dark blue pair. I was totally amazed at my own fear of bending gender rules for a boy! I would have bought combat boots or any other kind of "boy" attire for a daughter but I could not bring myself to allow him to wear something others might find too "feminine". That was three years ago. After having read this book, I am now noticing all the other ways I have subtly or not-so-subtly directed him along a culturally acceptable gender path. And I consider myself to be a feminist. This book was my first exposure to the idea that I won't harm my boys by allowing them the freedom to express themselves, however that might look. This book was my first exposure to the idea that mothers don't harm their sons by loving them passionately and joyfully. I am so grateful for having read this book and I am going to buy it for at least 3 other mothers I know who are raising boys. This should be required reading for ALL parents of boys!!!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Linda Blanchard on May 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
When I was pregnant with my second child, my first boy, I worried a lot about raising him successfully when I had almost no family experience with boys (coming from a family with no brothers, and an often absent father). I knew I wanted to help him avoid all the pitfalls of modern manhood (made vivid by a reading of the book, "The McGill Report on Male Intimacy"). All of the books I had read seemed to come from an "Iron John" perspective or be a sort of vague, New Agey feel-good book, but none of them offered concrete steps and clear facts until I read "The Courage To Raise Good Men." Here at last was a book that told me what my heart should have known all along: just love him like he's a child becoming an adult, and don't try to push him at all (he'll grow up even if you don't push!). This book is not written from a feminist perspective but it would suit any feminist's needs in trying to figure out how to raise a boy into a well-balanced human who happens to be male.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
I found this book in a baby goods resale shop in Chicago, where our oldest daughter works. We were shopping for a gift for our first grand child. Our youngest son and his precious wife are expecting in a few days. The title intrigued me and after I scanned it I knew I had to get it and see to it that all my 4 read it. I decided when I was having my sons that they were going to grow up knowing how to be husbands and fathers. I had grown up watching my father and brothers beat their chests and try to impress us with their "macho-ness" I wasn't impressed and determined I was going to find a man who was not afraid of his feelings. I managed to find one who was open enough to learn and have been married to him for nearly 40 yuears, and...we still like each other We have managed to raise two young men who are loving , caring, and whom I have an open and loving relationship with. They all still call from their various locations at least once a week and we gave them all video phones so we can all see each other. The neatest part is they are FRIENDS and they all like each other and communicate often. It can be done!! Thank you for bringing the subject to the attention of the multitude of young people who don't have a clue about raising a whole person. Our youngest said he realized a while ago that they are expecting a person, not just a baby. I feel so grateful to have understood my obligation as a woman and mother. This book should be required reading in any parenting class that is taught. Than you for writing the book and Blessings to you and your sweet son. The relationship between a mother and son can be as deliciously rewarding as it is with a daughter. I am purchasing a copy of it for all 4 of our progeny. They will perpetuate the "whole" man and woman.
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