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Wild at Heart: Discovering The Secret of a Man's Soul Hardcover – April 3, 2001

1,634 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

If Christian men are going to change from a pitiful, wimpy bunch of "really nice guys" to men who are made in the image of God, they must reexamine their preconceptions about who God is and recover their true "wild" hearts, writes bestselling author John Eldredge in Wild at Heart: Discovering a Life of Passion, Freedom, and Adventure. Eldredge throws down the gauntlet--men are bored; they fear risk, they refuse to pay attention to their deepest desires. He challenges Christian men to return to authentic masculinity without resorting to a "macho man" mentality. Men often seek validation in venues such as work, or in the conquest of women, Eldredge observes. He urges men to take time out and come to grips with the "secret longings" of their hearts. Although the book succeeds best in its slant toward a male audience, it also strives to help women understand the implications of authentic masculinity in their relationships with men. Eldredge frames the book around his outdoor experiences and appealing anecdotes about his family, sprinkling the text with touches of humor and overlying everything with heartfelt passion. Even as he mixes eclectic ideas about masculinity from popular movies such as Braveheart with classic words from Oswald Chambers, and lyrics from the Dixie Chicks with stories from the Bible, he points to only one answer for men searching for their true wildness of heart. Writes Eldredge, "The only way to live in this adventure ... with all its danger and unpredictability and immensely high stakes ... is in an ongoing, intimate relationship with God." --Cindy Crosby


"A formidable answer to an age-old question: How can a man make himself tolerable and useful while accepting and expressing his primordial maleness--the searching and aggressive urges to conquer what needs subduing, protect the vulnerable, fix what is broken, compete and risk what demands to be risked in himself and the world? The author’s message is set in the Christian tradition without being controlled by its ideology. Eldredge believes that institutions can oppress a man’s heart and keep society from benefiting from his fierce desire to love, do good, fight evil, and go beyond the limits. The exceptional writing and ideational balance (and a sensitive interpretation by Kelly Dolan) make this a compelling effort to integrate the hero’s gritty nature with the public good." 
T.W. © AudioFile Portland, Maine
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 3, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785218955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785268833
  • ASIN: 0785268839
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,634 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,622 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

John Eldredge is an author (you probably figured that out), a counselor, and a teacher. He is also president of Ransomed Heart, a ministry devoted to helping people discover the heart of God, recover their own hearts in God's love, and learn to live in God's Kingdom. John grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles (which he hated), and spent his boyhood summers on his grandfather's cattle ranch in eastern Oregon (which he loved). John met his wife, Stasi, in high school (in drama class). But their romance did not begin until they each came to faith in Christ, after high school. John earned his undergraduate degree in Theater at Cal Poly, and directed a theater company in Los Angeles for several years before moving to Colorado with Focus on the Family, where he taught at the Focus on the Family Institute.

John earned his master's degree in Counseling from Colorado Christian University, under the direction of Larry Crabb and Dan Allender. He worked as a counselor in private practice before launching Ransomed Heart in 2000. John and Stasi live in Colorado Springs with their three sons (Samuel, Blaine, and Luke), their golden retriever (Oban), and two horses (Whistle and Kokolo). While all of this is factually true, it somehow misses describing an actual person. He loves the outdoors passionately, and all beauty, Shakespeare, bow hunting, a good cigar, anything having to do with adventure, poetry, March Madness, working in the shop, fly fishing, classic rock, the Tetons, fish tacos, George MacDonald, green tea, buffalo steaks, dark chocolate, wild and open places, horses running, and too much more to name. He also uses the expression "far out" way too much.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

923 of 1,017 people found the following review helpful By Edward J. Vasicek on March 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As I looked over the reviews of this book, I noted a real polarization: guys either loved or hated this book. Any book this polarizing, I thought, must at bare minimum be bold. And this is a bold book.

On the positive side, the basic premise, that men need to embrace masculinity instead of apologizing for it, is great. It is true that many (unfortunately Eldredge says, "the church," which is tough to prove since he has not been in every church) churches do embrace a feminized Jesus and seem to push an agenda that feminizes men. As a pastor of 25 years, I have noted this tendency in many (perhaps most?) congregations (but I can honestly say that this has not been the case in the two churches I have pastored). Though common, this problem is not always present.

Eldredge argues that men should feel free to be "wild at heart," and that a deep relationship with God and the security that comes from realizing one is truly a man is a key to a satisfying and meaningful life for a man.

He recognizes the "wound" that men have, the importance of having a battle to fight and a beauty to rescue, themes dealt with about ten or (or more) years ago (by the likes of Gordon Dalbey, Robert Hicks, etc.); but his work is a current volume, and this material needs to re-circulate for the upcoming generations.

On the negative side, however, this book is reactionary. It addresses all men as though they were of the same temperament, namely that of the author. Besides watching way too many movies, the author enjoys the great outdoors. But he has forgotten that God does not only bless the Esaus, but also the Jacobs. And some of us guys don't even like movies (sorry, but there is nothing masculine about having to be entertained visually).
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143 of 160 people found the following review helpful By ERW on August 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I can understand and agree with all the negative criticisms that people are writing about this author's books, but there's a catch: Their anger is misdirected. Like any advice/teaching/ whatever you want to call it, you are going to have certain people completely misunderstand or misinterpret said teachings and do what they want with it.
I find the author makes some very good points for which I feel vindicated personally on several levels.
I am 27 years old, a single Christian male, and have felt a lot of the ways this author talks about. And it's not wrong. I want to be loved and to love an amazing Christian woman. I want my life to be so much more than being stuck in a gray box with floursecent lights all day and then come home to another box at night and repeat ad infinitum. Is that all life is? I'd honestly rather be dead if that's all there is....and that's what this author is trying to dig at.
The author is not advocating contradictions to Jesus's teaching, but is presenting an idea that, if you are trying to walk in the Lord's path, there are certain innate desires that every man and woman has. Excitement, variety, challenge, love...these are the kinds of things that men and women naturally desire, and these desires are not wrong and should not be choked down.
In several of his books, the author tries to dissect how and why men (and even women to a limited degree although his focus is on men) feel certain ways about certain things.
I was so depressed after graduating college and now I finally know why. I don't want to be just some "nice guy" that everyone looks over and forgets. I am a nice guy, but I am so much more than a cog in some machine. That's what this is about!
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664 of 786 people found the following review helpful By mjanke on November 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
John Eldredge's WILD AT HEART is one of the most refreshing and radical books that I have read. Why are so many men unhappy, un-fulfilled, in jobs they hate, and in marriages that are dead? WILD AT HEART seeks to answer those questions and restore the passion and God-given masculinity that so many men in today's world, and church, are missing.
Some wrongly criticize WILD AT HEART, believing Eldredge is offering up macho, dim-witted masculine bravado, or they believe that this work will be a free pass for men to leave marriages in the dust on a search for lost dreams. Eldredge will have none of that, and says himself in the book that such men are "deceived about what it is they really want, what they are made for." Don't be fooled by the various criticisms that ignore Eldredge's real meaning. A real man's desires are shaped by the Lord.
Instead, WILD AT HEART is about restoring a Godly dream in the soul of a man. A desire to truly be a man, rather than a softened-neutered-nice-but-restrained-guy that the world has somehow dictated that Christian males should be. Nice men may be socially acceptable but in creating them we have snuffed out the very fire that God would have us fan in our pursuit of Him.
This is an attempt to re-kindle that flame. To restore the three longings that are at the core of each man: a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. Eldredge's arguments are firmly planted in Biblical principles, as well as his past personal experience. His writing style is very easy going, and he uses a lot of illustrations from popular culture, which makes the reading fun. I believe this book is an awesome wake up call to the church. For too long men have weakened themselves by ignoring our God-created passions.
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