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The Decline of Men: How the American Male Is Tuning Out, Giving Up, and Flipping Off His Future Hardcover – October 7, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (October 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061353140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061353147
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,349,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Garcia (The New Mainstream) explores disturbing trends of men leading increasingly socially isolated lives and dropping out of high school and college in record numbers, naming them victims of an invisible epidemic. According to the author, modern men have failed to forge a new and productive role in the 21st century. Garcia charts the rise of feminism and the changing societal roles of both men and women, illustrating how and why men have become so confused about what defines masculinity; having lost their traditional role as provider and protector, men flirt with hollow substitute identities—drawing on Jackass culture (men pretending to be boys), gangster culture (boys pretending to be men) and metrosexual obsessions with grooming and body image—that have reductively redefined manhood and led men away from compassion, responsibility and family. Garcia wisely avoids degrading feminism or pitting men against women; instead, he offers an astute and well-researched meditation on how men might reclaim their identity and place in modern America and why such a transformation is important to future generations of both men and women. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Back Cover

  • Why are so many of today's supermen superclueless?

  • Why are so many ambitious young women unable to find boyfriends as successful and independent as they are?

  • Why do so many men prefer the escapist digitized world of SPIKE TV, Jackass, and Grand Theft Auto to the reality of their own lives?

In an eye-opening exploration of contemporary American manhood, The Decline of Men shows how men are struggling to redefine what being a man means in today's world. Their confusion has led to rampant male malaise, which has left many men feeling alienated and disconnected. Unable to communicate their frustrated thoughts or emotions effectively, too many guys are slacking off and opting out of their manly obligations, producing an entire generation of men who are ditching their own potential and failing the moms, wives, and girlfriends who love them.

The Decline of Men is a wake-up call to this distressing state of affairs. As award-winning journalist Guy Garcia reports, rather than working hard to achieve top grades or a promotion at work, too many American males squander their energy tracking their fantasy football league scores or mastering the latest video game. Men drop out of school at a far higher rate than women and are far likelier to die early because of poor health habits. Even the male Y chromosome is said to be at risk of disappearing altogether one day.

Packed with startling statistics, informed by pop culture, and narrated in the entertaining style for which Guy Garcia is known, The Decline of Men sheds light on a problem that has wreaked havoc on the American family and urges men and women to look past the gender wars to address this national emergency together.


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Customer Reviews

The information is not presented well and most of the references made are not cited properly.
boraboralauralynn
At the end of the day, this really isn't what either men *or* women (at least women who are not radical feminists) want, or need.
Brendan Ross
If I were stupid enough to get married she has too much power to file for divorce and ruin me financially.
BRS

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 116 people found the following review helpful By Brendan Ross on December 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a rather disingenuous book. While Garcia does a fairly good job of outlining how men are underperforming relative to women in various ways in contemporary American society -- something which seems to be positive to men, in terms of bringing light to the issue -- his proposed solution to this perceived "decline" is breathtakingly anti-male: men need to redefine what they feel is appropriately "masculine" by becoming more feminine. Essentially, this book is a call for the feminization of men by replacing the substantive content of the word "masculine" with items that are now under the rubric "feminine". Far from being a pro-men book, this is really an exercise in 3.5 wave feminism: now that second and third wave feminism have redefined what is acceptably "feminine", it's time to redefine, for men, what is acceptably "masculine", even if men are not clamoring for this, as women clamored to redefine their own identities. This is essentially a feminist book, clothed in the language of men -- which makes it rather subversive and disingenuous.

For Garcia, the continued decline of men relative to women is irreversible and inevitable. Our only option, as men, is to accept this, and to basically get over it, and get on with our future as the second sex, with much of our masculinity replaced by so-called feminine behaviors, ideas and values -- because it is inevitable that women will be the dominant gender very soon in the United States. For Garcia, men need a "12 Step Program", basically so that we can get over our disease of being unfeminized men, and accept our inevitable feminized male destiny.
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44 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Thomas W. Sulcer on June 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The provocative title caught my attention, but while reading I kept hunting for explanations about why men are declining. Why do women out-compete men in the workplace? His book is a fairly well documented term paper chronicling this problem from different angles (popular media, voting patterns, college attendance, etc) but he doesn't explain WHY men are declining and I will try shortly.

He notes the growing consumer power of women who realize "we just don't need men anymore". Women are learning to be financially independent. There are signs everywhere of the rise of women and the fall of men. In the last presidential election, as we're all aware, a woman candidate narrowly missed a shot at the top job. Powerful female executives seem to be more prevalent.

In my view, the pattern of male decline is one part of a much broader set of issues. The decline of men is not THE problem but only one problem wrapped up with many others, some of which are larger and thornier (e.g. decline of democracy, breakdown of citizenship, fallout from technological change). Marriage, itself, is on the decline, as individualism and personal choice undermine the shared sacrifice necessary to make marriages work. Birth control and abortion rights have undermined the classic marriage bargain of exchanging sex for a commitment. This was a kind of glue that encouraged both men (wanting sex) and women (wanting status and children) to marry. But today sex is possible without commitment, and women can achieve status without men. And competitive pressures have made it mandatory for all adults today to work, and this has brought women of all ages into a highly competitive workplace. There is terrific freedom for individuals but at the expense of families which are struggling.
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57 of 70 people found the following review helpful By BRS on February 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
It is disheartening that a man wrote this to appeal to a female audience who always want to read about why they can't find a man who meets their impossibly high expectations, or who is subservient to their modern independent lifestyle.

As a man in America today I am constantly being told that natural male behaviour is unacceptable. I see females all over the TV beating up men; I am only allowed to pursue females only on their politically correct terms. If I were stupid enough to get married she has too much power to file for divorce and ruin me financially. At school and at work I see more effort invested in making sure females advance and succeed without equal attention given to males.

Our society and women have basically said to us that men are disposable, that we don't matter as much as we used to. Now why the hell should I work hard for women who don't appreciate you? And also, I see a lot of negative and destructive behaviour coming from females (Britney Spears, Paris Hilton etc) Why aren't their just as many books written about female shortcomings?

We are tired of the male bashing. The author should be a little more balanced in assigning blame, and insist women change some of their behaviours!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Joshua P. OConner VINE VOICE on January 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
"The Decline of Men" isn't what you expect. When I first read the summary I envisioned some sort of counter-feminist rebuttal of women's rights, but what I found was an interesting venture into the plight of the modern day man. The author (Guy Garcia) dives headfirst into understanding the implications of modern society on the male gender and examines how work toward gender equality has impacted men. Written with a focus on modern society and pop-culture The Decline of Men manages to inform while entertaining.

Garcia weaves together a variety of topics from men's health to action figures in order to show how men are perceived in today's society. He doesn't make excuses for men, but instead shows how various elements of progress for women have displaced men or created confusion regarding their place in society. He looks at where men are losing traction (such as jobs and education) and he looks into areas where men have avoided taking care of themselves (such as preventative health). The cross-section of information that Garcia references is worth picking up the book in and of itself, his explosion of facts provides plenty of resources for additional research.

Instead of throwing together a droll recollection of history and explanation of gender, Garcia manages to present a powerfully entertaining glimpse of the male gender. I found it reminiscent of the stylistic prose found in "Freakonomics". He also works to explain where females are in relationship to males and where both genders are headed. I didn't find "The Decline of Men" to harp on any one particular perspective but in the same vein it can be a little hard on men.
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