on July 11, 2013
Men, especially young men (before it's too late): find or rediscover yourselves here. This isn't a vapid, chest-thumping defense of misogyny or other stupid and useless male excesses. Donovan's treatise on the nature of men is a well-reasoned, historically valid argumentation of man and manhood as definable, socio-biological facts, and not the changeable "social constructs" described (or desired) by feminism and other post-structuralist thought. Men and manhood exist, and increasingly exist at odds with and within systems that want to control, change or even dispose of them. Moreover, men and manhood - properly defined - have both a right and a reason to exist. Donovan expounds on and justifies these rationales brilliantly. For Generation Xers in particular, "The Way of Men" is the how-to manual our fathers wish they'd been allowed to give us as we were entering manhood. In fact, I suspect more than a few single mothers would impart this knowledge to their fatherless sons as they discover firsthand the real nature of men in the pubescent behavior of their rudderless, confused boys.
Why call such a necessary book dangerous? Because it is. It subverts everything men are taught about their attributes, worth and roles in the modern world, and defies the modern world's expectation that men will simply shut up and submit to a mechanical, inhuman order antithetical to their own nature and history. If you want to become a better man, read this. If you want a better understanding of men, read this. And by every means make sure the next generation of men reads this.
on March 26, 2012
If you are fan of Mr. Donovan's other works, I think you will not be surprised by his latest work, The Way of Men. It's utterly straightforward and honest, full of historical anecdotes, and uncompromising in it's vision. Jack really does understand the state of men and he relays the information pretty well. His core beliefs, however, are very Left Handed ,if you know what I mean and as such, his writing only for really intrepid readers. Jack's dangerous ideas often bring to my mind Nietzsche, Simon LeVay and Ayn Rand for, to read this book properly, you must accept, if only temporarily, that "Might is Right." I do wish he had not used quite so many words- even for a short book, it drags bottom in places- but the author does not aim to entertain. For the fictional, entertaining version of this book, try the perennial favorite, Fight Club, because the two works really describe the same scenario: the crisis of modern manhood. Men are getting softer, fatter, lazier, more feminine, more dependent on a government that we do not trust and which does not values us, dependent on others for food, water and safety. Gender roles in the author's hometown of Portland are decidedly unhip, quaint even. Women compete in the work place, earning as much and more as their male counterparts. Physical, dangerous jobs are going away. We all sit behind desks for a paycheck. Hell, even the military, the manliest joint around, is blowing up Afghan's via robot drones! What a tough sell- masculinity is perceived to be rooted in violence, aggression, chauvinism, and war: characteristics many, including yours truly, believe dangerous and even deeply unevolved. Modern men are left unfulfilled without an outlet for all that testosterone, for good or for bad.
Jack's hypothesis is that men today languish for the lack the gang, a fraternity of male allies who depend on one another when hunting mammoth or perhaps defending against marauding bands of bandits on a Mad-Max-post-Apocalypse desert highway or zombies or whatever. For Jack, Masculinity is acceptance among male peers. He's absolutely correct, by the way. To be part of the club, you must carry your own weight plus some. It's us vs. them and there's no room for wimps and pussies. Cavemen and Spartans would understand but will modern males? I think I do and in fact, I long for such camaraderie, as I suspect other urban intellectuals with y chromosomes will too. Jack even gives instruction on creating a gang of you very own, which strikes me as paradoxically both Insane and Totally Reasonable. It honestly sounds like fun to me but falls pretty short of Jack's ideal. Around what will you form your gang? Fantasy football? The only gangs that would have me are the Sharks or the Jets. And do you really want to live in Jack's basement, making soap and bombs by day and brawling by night? Anyone who really wants to experience gang life is invited to commit a sufficiently violent crime and plead guilty. Prison will present you with ample opportunities for both male bonding and gang violence. My point is, I'm not sure fulfilling men's emotional needs are worth deconstructing society, decadent though it is.
The Way of Men is a interesting book. It asks the right questions but I'm afraid it has the wrong answers for me. Hardier readers may feel different. I suspect the crux upon which others will judge is this: do you have faith in good of all mankind or do you subscribe to "The Survival of the Fittest?" Do we live in a dangerous world where we must stick to our tribe and fear other humans? Whether you wear a white hat or a black hat will make a lot of difference. While Jack nails the nihilist malaise of genderless utopia, the corrosive effects of globalism on the spirit of man and the indignity that men face daily, he fails to channel man's nobler spirit. That's not to say I wasn't given pause, because I surely was. What man has not at one time wished to work with his hands again, to find companionship among other men, to work as a group towards a goal, preferably splitting the head of a enemy with a coconut? Or perhaps don a uniform and march off to defend civilization? I too have a vague notion that my ancestors were stronger, manlier men than I, that there is a loss of something vital, something dangerous and powerful and dynamic in our sensitive, technological world. We are losing our manly essence and our cultural identities and there doesn't seem much we can do about it.
There is many good ideas to be gleaned here, just please don't push it over the edge. I just find it strange that one can speak of such high characteristics such as honor, courage and strength in men and yet apply them to so small a goal as hunting. Then again, I've never been in a gang, nor do I expect to be, and when the Apocalypse comes, it may likely be my head on the stake.
on October 14, 2013
I impulsively bought this book because I had heard it circling around the manosphere long enough and decided to take the bait. I wanted to be excited about this book. I was hoping for something original, or at the very least, an interesting description of hard truths. I was fairly disappointed by the sheer lightness of this book. It's as though the author read "Confessions of an Online Hustler" and took the main premise of creating an info-product to heart, thus churning this project which must have taken no more than a month to write from scratch, and no more than a couple of days to compile from old blog posts.
It is essentially a long blog post, and the main premise argued that men should bond with other men. Well, in that I agree, but I disagree that men should do so because we are violent. You see, I don't come from a background of bachelors prowling for women and constantly fighting each other to be top dog. I come from a background that looks at a loving wife, healthy children, a productive job, and ethical values (religious or secular) as the stuff that builds civilization. Most of the gangs that the author seems to condone (he only ever offers a caveat of their destruction at the end of the book) out of their sheer manliness are gangs that literally destroy production and civilization. The way of the knight, the samurai, and the roman legion kept civilization from advancing with their constant warfare and complete disregard for other humans; it was really only until gunpowder that the lower classes were able to put up a resistance. Feudal lords, warlords, emperors, and kings stole the productivity of the masses for millennia; do we really want to go back to a system of oligarchic rule where the strong lead us into meaningless conflict just because they have no other productive way to spend their violent energies?
Again, I say that I wish this book were better, that it offered a compelling argument, but I cannot give it 4 or 5 stars simply because it is red pill material. The evidence for why men should be badasses is lacking, there were no arguments that violence makes a society productive and peaceful beyond the Romulus and Remus foundation of Rome myth. The author mentions the Roman myth to demonstrate how mighty men built a kingdom, but then that's it, it's as if that's all the evidence we need to know that a couple of Rambos could rebuild society bottom-up and produce another great Roman civilization. Why were the mighty Goths unable to build such a civilization? Why not give an example of Philip of Macedon, or his son Alexander and their subsequent civilization? Why not Charlemagne, or Charles V, or Napoleon, or Hitler? I'm surprised the author didn't mention anything about Hitler having "balls of steel."
Another bone I would have to pick with this book is that the author gives a very condescending nod of approval to the eggheads whose innovations have propelled mankind forward. The author backhandedly mentions the men who learned how to manipulate fire as "runts." I suspect that this book worships strength and violent dominance, not because it is manly, but because it works. It's pragmatic. It's sensible because we are animals, and when "the shit hits the fan" you had better have strength and numbers to stake out your "perimeter."
My final thought on this book was the stark lack of family values. The author does not seem to make any connection between father and son carrying on civilization. Bachelors alone cannot a civilization make. The author does mention that Romulus' followers had to steal women to keep the project going, but can there be no mighty methods of fatherhood to perpetuate a strong civilization? It is not crisis that keeps civilization on its toes and propel it to dominate its neighbors, it's population and production. I suspect the author does not have a wife or children, why else would he be so excited about the necessity of men to be powerful and involved in gangs? When a bachelor has nothing to lose, no responsibilities such as family, in fact, when he instead shuns such responsibilities as work for weaker men, that is when I part ways with the author permanently. Dangerous bachelors do not create civilization, there is a reason why groups of young men have always been feared and loathed in society, and my belief is that men build advanced civilizations through peace, commerce, and cooperation.
on April 9, 2012
If you're not familiar with the so-called "menosphere" and you never heard of Jack Donovan, I warn you: he's is not a gamer. Maybe we could call him a baller. Or a playmaker. And, for sure, a shot caller. Few writers have the ability to write a book that any man would like to pick up and read right away. Mr. Donovan is one of those. He can be direct and profound, right to the point and comprehensive, lean and stylish. As you navigate through the chapters, you feel as if you knew the author from your local pub, like an old buddy from college talking directly to you. A great joy. With beers, if possible.
In your gut, you know that women are remaking the world in their own image and you know that you don't wanna live in a world like that, but maybe you lack the argumentative tools to draw a precise picture of the situation inside your own head. Sure, you wanna know what is masculinity today. But, more importantly, what has been masculinity for thousands of years? What makes a man good in being a man, that is what "The Way of Men" is all about. When you hear that masculinity it is being completely redefined, maybe you should consider that this definition lies in the past, on our genes, on our history as human beings.
Highly quotable, this book will give you lots of accessible concepts and, without even noticing, you'll repeat on you daily life that "The way of men is the way of the gang", or "Masculinity is about what men want from each other", or "Strength, Courage, Mastery, and Honor are the alpha virtues of men all over the world". And I think that is exactly the purpose of the author: you'll see the world differently and, most important, you'll see yourself differently. If you have a Y chromosome and never thought about those subjects, buy the book and start it right away. You sure don't want to be a slave, do you?
on January 10, 2014
The Way of Men by Jack Donovon is a long essay on the state of "Manhood" today. As such the book fall into three sections.
In the first section Jack defines a Man by Strength, Mastery, Courage and Honor. The writing is good at this point. The points made, while not necessarily original, are insightful as to the reasons men and boys are dropping out, not competing, not making successes of themselves in the modern world.
Then the language turns negative, blaming "civilization" and "feminism (never well defined) and the confining of men away from "them." Here Jack identifies several kinds of Manhood - Simulated, Vicarious, Intellectualized, Metaphorical, and Ascetic. These are laid out, with good examples of each. All are decried as false manhood.
Then Jack tries to define the role of man in the modern world and just seems to give up and call all men participating beyond the "gang mentality" weak, incompetent, afraid and not courageous and dishonorable. Every possible way for a man to be strong in the modern world is thoroughly deprecated. We are not given any way out of the dilemma.
Then we get a discussion of the masturbatory society, including the Bonobo and Champanzee society comparison putting down nearly every aspect of civilization as destructive to "Manhood" and calling the potential answers all self indulgent masturbation.
On the last pages we get the lame advice, "create proximity, Choose your "us," "Create Fraternity."
I found the ending of the book disappointing as Jack closes with this advice "You need to learn how to read each other and work together as a group. Go to the shooting range. Go Hunting. Take a workshop. Learn a useful skill. Fix something. Build something. Get off you asses asses and do something." These are all more or less directly from his simulated and vicarious manhood discussions mentioned earlier. After dissing every thing from the Man's Movement and Men's Rights Movement to effeminacy, and decrying both simulated and vicarious manhood attempts, all we get is advice to do simulated and vicarious Manhood type things, earlier dismissed.
I give the book three stars for the first section. I deducted two stars for the logic errors and weak ending. Men are searching how to be a Man in the modern world. This book did not help.
on March 24, 2013
If I had to guess, I would say that Jack is often called a fascist. His plan for male revival is similar to the plans of Hitler's youth and the original boy scouts. He is making the fallacy that objective nature exists ie their exists a state of nature. That said, I have to agree with his analysis of the modern androgynous society in which we live. Men struggle in America today because the state and society are doing everything to enslave men. Men have been lowered to the level where consumer, not citizen is the preferred label. Corp. culture requires less alpha males than the decentralized small business and independent family farms. The very things that define masculinity--propensity for violence, strength, desire for honor, and mastery of self-- are generally demonized or commercialised into a safe outlet like sports. I recommend this book for fathers and sons to read together and discuss manhood; to explain that consuming woman's bodies, endless masturbation, and video games do not make a boy a man. Evolution made men defenders, stand up for yourself and protect your interests.
on March 26, 2012
To say this book is "only" x number of pages is to complain that your favorite all you can eat buffet ran out of tater tots for your third soft-serve.
Jack's Paleo-masculine theories, are like the paleo-diet, the meat is what matters. It details what men need to thrive based on an understanding that we became optimized for struggle in a harsh world.
I masticated on this in a way I was unable to with Pinker's 700 pages of The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.
And Jack didn't wait 5 years so he could couch his reactionary theories in all sorts of quailfying language an hand-wringing luke Putnam's Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.
In fact, it is that sort of hang-wringing about the reality of society when it contradicts "good thinking" people's views on how things SHOULD BE that Jack assaults head on by writing in just such a clear and concise way.
on October 26, 2015
Long winded review aside.
Purchase this book.
It will change your perspective and give you insight that everyone around you is ignorant of.
It has changed my life for the better, and am already seeing results.
Quit jacking off like a lowly monkey, start working out, get a legit fight, find some real men as brothers, grow out your facial hair, stop following the herd. Stop being comfortable. Stop being average
If any of that scares you. Then do not purchase this book.
I am man.
on October 23, 2014
Jack Donovan has the spirit of Attila and the mind of Aristotle. His perceptive insight places him as a leader among those writing on men's issues, and he doesn't fear to tread where they hold back for fear of being politically-incorrect.
Buy this book. Start reading. I guarantee that you'll not be able to stop.
on October 1, 2015
An interesting book on a subject many shy away from, 'The Way of Men' offers a solution to the frustrations and trials that many men face in today's world. With evidence shown through history, psychology, and news from today, Jack Donovan offers a different perspective on manhood and how it affects the modern man. A completely amoral outlook, it is a refreshing change from feminist viewpoints and influences, offering a man's idea on manly ideas.
Perhaps barbarism is not just a lack of civilization, but a lack of civilization's shortcomings as well.
Perhaps, Donovan suggests, barbarism offers more than just a lesson on what a man used to be. It may also offer a lesson on what men should never stop being. With civilization comes comfort, but also weakness. Easy living brings about a lack of emphasis on the manly virtues, causing more and more men to lose their desire to prove that they are men. This, the book argues, is what has lead to the resurgence of effeminate lifestyles and feminine men.
Donovan does not attempt to explain why men should feel this way, which is a good thing. Men are simply wired the way they are wired. And to deny that is to deny one's masculinity. It's a great and rejuvenating outlook that encourages men to accept their barbaric selves and take back their lives.
Need an encouraging word to restart your masculine impulses? Do yourself a favor and read this book.