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What Makes a Man Paperback – Bargain Price, February 1, 2005


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Paperback, Bargain Price, February 1, 2005
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1594480680
  • ASIN: B000HWYYSK
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,980,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this literate essay collection, Walker (Black, White and Jewish) brings together male and female writers to ponder the male figure in its various poses: ill, robust, young, aged, confident, emotionally spent. The result is a book that portrays masculinity as a fluid mosaic, giving added resonance to contributor Caitríona Reed’s claim that "the Navajo have at least forty-nine gender designations." Elsewhere humor writer Bruce Stockler, in "No Means No," uses agile diction to portray the frenetic schedule and social stigma attached to being a stay-at-home dad—for four children, including triplets. And Meri Nana-Ama Danquah, in an essay that uses narrative twists to surprise readers with thoughtful analysis, ambivalently describes Ghana, a country where men link pinkies while chatting in bars because Ghanaian society accepts the display of physical affection between male friends. Almost half of the writers are African American (two others are gay men), and a recurring theme involves the shedding of machismo associated with that culture. Most of the essays are well crafted—an exception being Michael Moore’s hollow rant "The End of Men"—and a number of them chronicle a personal transformation from a limited view of masculinity to one imbued with nuance and so-called femininity. These awakenings are sometimes cloying and may make readers yearn for a defense of the red-blooded man—which they’ll glimpse in the excerpt from Anthony Swofford’s acclaimed Gulf War memoir Jarhead. But overall the anecdotes and insights will keep readers engaged, even if they cast only occasional light on an imagined future.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Walker, author of the memoir Black, White, and Jewish (2000), has put together a timely and profound anthology. One wonders what changes could occur in our society if such texts were read and openly and sensitively discussed among boys and girls who are on the verge of entering the limiting spaces we call "manhood" and "womanhood." Walker's introductory essay offers poignant and insightful observations about our reactions as parents, children, and peers to the process of becoming a "man." Other striking pieces include a mother's questions about her three-year-old son's insistence that he's a girl; a man's reflections on his childhood and the experiences, role models, and expectations that shaped him; a privileged young black man's life of trying to fit in while remaining true to his belief in peace over violence; and a transsexual's search for self beyond stereotype. Walker has done society at large a great service by bringing forth these voices, these views. Now if only society will listen. Janet St. John
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Rebecca Walker was chosen as one of Time magazine's fifty future leaders of America, one of the most influential leaders of her generation. She has made a substantial contribution to the global conversation about identity, power, culture, and the evolution of the human family through books, lectures, blogs, social networks, popular magazines, literary and academic journals, radio programs, film and television appearances and content development. She graduated cum laude from Yale in 1992.

She is the author of the memoirs Black, White and Jewish and Baby Love; and editor of the anthologies To Be Real, What Makes a Man, and One Big Happy Family. Her writing has appeared in Glamour, the Washington Post, Bookforum, BOMB, Newsweek, Vibe, Real Simple, Modern Bride, Essence, More and Interview, among many other magazines and literary collections. She has appeared on Charlie Rose, Good Morning America, Oprah, Fresh Air, BET, and dozens of blogs, sites, and other media.

Customer Reviews

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An excellent and unique anthology that explores gender, race and masculinity.
The Mighty Quinn
What Makes a Man was one of the most insightful books that I have ever read dealing with the psychology of a man.
deborah parham
This book presents commentary from a very wide spectrum of writers, of different races and social classes.
A reader in Chicago

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Wright on June 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book caught my eye at the bookstore because of its title, and even though it was only available in hardcover I decided I had to have it. I read the initial chapter a few times before actually reading the book fully, and I thought I had an idea of what it would be all about. Fortunately, I was wrong. Parts of this book (chapters by certain authors) are amazing. Others are reiterations of information I had learned elsewhere, reiterations that reminded me of the "standing on your soapbox" image. The chapters that really interested me were the one by Meri Nana-Ama Danquah where she discusses the stereotypical perceptions of "masculinity" and "femininity," the chapter by Michael Moore where he candidly discusses gender roles (and how to escape a room if your wife has set your bed on fire), the chapter by Ruth Bettelheim about the affects of divorce on male children (and how parents should work with their children post-divorce), and Martha Southgate's story of "her girlish boy." Above all what I took from this book was a sense of awe; not only do we not understand that society is creating unhappiness (in both women and men), but we also are buying into it. We keep pushing ourselves to become what it is that someone, somewhere else than where we are, is telling us is "good" and appropriate for our genders. This motion is creating depression, anger, aggression, and general malaise in both women and men. Hopefully more people will read this book, or more books like it, and begin to have an understanding of what is happening, if not do something about it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Shirley Priscilla Johnson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Author Rebecca Walker brings us a very interesting collection of essays by a variety of contributors in her work, "What Makes A Man." I knew this work would hold some enticing reading.

Here are a few questions for you. What does it mean to be a male? What exactly is required of our men and is it fair what we demand from them? How do they feel about the role they are made to take? These are some of the questions addressed in this work, and the responses may surprise you.

In these essays you will find heart felt stories and honest raw emotions set before you. Perhaps for the first time you will understand the true heart of a man as he struggles to find his own identity, which is often suppressed by what he feels he should be, but is not. Or longs to be, but is not given the liberty to pursue his hearts desire. Very sad.

I found this work to be very refreshing and certainly made me stop and re-think of the pre-conceived ideas that have been handed down to me concerning the place men should have in our society. The essays kept my interest as I could feel through the words that were penned a true heart cry of the writer for others to understand the turmoil that they were experiencing.

This work is truly one that would benefit all in bringing us more understanding of fears unspoken, goals not able to be achieved and dreams unfulfilled from those who have played the role for so long, men.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Mighty Quinn on February 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
An excellent and unique anthology that explores gender, race and masculinity. I am reading this book for the second time in the past 16 months, and I am enjoying it so much that I decided to write a review. I wish I had a copy of this book when I was 16, although Im not sure I would have had the maturity to digest it.

These writers share their thoughts, fears, vulnerabilities and I am a more compassionate, generous, open-minded man for it. Thank you Rebecca Walker.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A reader in Chicago on August 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book presents commentary from a very wide spectrum of writers, of different races and social classes. In fact, I thought the diversity of perspectives presented was one of the book's strongest points. A very timely question, given a very thorough exploration in this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By reenum on January 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
Like most collections, this is a very uneven book. Certain essays resonated deeply, while others were hokey re-tellings of childhood events or abstract nonsense.

Still, the good essays gave me an insight into a man's place in contemporary society. It made me realize the effects gender roles have on people. As men, we're expected to be the hunters and climb the corporate ladder. The essay by the stay at home dad was very telling in the reactions he got from others. The first essay, about a husband's gift of a one year sabbatical to wife in order for her to write her novel also showed how marriages can fall apart and then come together.

It's decent reading, but not something I would recommend buying if you're looking for a totally insightful collection about the inner lives of men.
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