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The Broken American Male: And How to Fix Him Hardcover – January 22, 2008

3.9 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From a very young age, Boteach explains, men are bombarded with messages defining success "exclusively by money, power, fame, and preferably a corrosive amalgamation of all three" (think Donald Trump); for the average American man, this definition results in a deep but hard-to-pin-down sense of failure that stains his perception-of himself and his environment-and inevitably corrodes his relationships, "bringing down the American female and family with him." Boteach, Rabbi of Oxford University, author of Kosher Sex and star of the Learning Channel's "Shalom in the Home," offers a detailed prognosis of the current state of the American family based on his work with families facing familiar crises (constant fighting, depression, anorexia, sexless marriage), "approximately 70 percent" of whom suffer from "Broken American Male syndrome." The book's first third takes a hard but sympathetic look at the syndrome's symptoms and effects (such as waning libido, empty ambition, escapism and substance abuse); the middle third examines underlying causes ("soulless capitalism") and collateral damage ("The Inadequate American Female," "The Uninspired Child") on the way to chapters providing sound advice and practical solutions-beginning with a "New Definition of Success," one measured "by the quality of our relationships." Though rooted in Judaism, Boteach's lessons are applicable to anyone hoping to understand and overcome feelings of failure in themselves or their loved ones.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“A vital and fascinating repair manual.”—A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically


“A refreshing kick in the teeth.”—USA Today

"Boteach's lessons are applicable to anyone hoping to understand and overcome feelings of failure in themselves or their loved ones."--Publishers Weekly


--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (January 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312379242
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312379247
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,278,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This fascinating book rang true most of time. There were lots of "aha- so that's why they act like that" moments. I do think that the book is incomplete. He spends most of his time discussing men who measure their success or self-worth based on money. Perhaps this is because he lives in New York and, by his own admission, knows many people who work in Wallstreet. Most of the performance-driven men I know are not measuring themselves by money, but by accomplishments, recognition, and the geek-cool-factor. He does not touch on how performance-driven self worth has been passed on to women. (If Daddy pays more attention to money or accomplishments than to "feminine" persuits, darling daughter is going to focus on money or accomplishments). While that is arguably outside the scope of this book, he does spend considerable time discussing the effects of a performance-driven man on his family.
He also doesn't touch on the arrested development that seems to afflict some men. This would be the 40-year-old that still lives at home and spends his time watching movies and playing video games. Or the man in his mid-30s that does just enough enough work to keep him supplied with ramen noodles and a season pass at the ski resort. I would dearly like to know what is going on in their brains. That said, I loved the book, and am passing it around to friends and family.
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Format: Hardcover
After catching a few episodes of his TV show, I felt like Boteach "got it" in the way that Dr. Drew and occasionally Dr. Phil got it. He has the ability to cut to the core of the issue, understand when people are acting unhealthily and are unafraid to point fingers. The book confirmed my initial impression. Boteach is definitely onto something about male culture. His analogy of women and eating disorders and then men and workaholicism is apt. They are both a result of a tendency to apply internal identity to external factors. A woman feels she is as worthy as her beauty and a man as special as his wealth. No question, modern culture perverts many natural urges to unhealthy access--and we often examine how that effects women but rarely do the same for men. His book finally does this.

If there is any criticism to be leveled at this it is the mass of generalizations, feel-good assertions, and unsupported idealism. Look, men's behavior is not totally a result of culture. The traits he derides in the book existed long before man had developed to ability to speak, let alone build office buildings. To think that it could all go away with a few parenting changes is ridiculous. And as always, religion (namely the bible) is a poor place to found any theory. Being that he is a Rabbi, he rests heavily on scripture and the notion of "G-d." In this instance, I think he could have made an equally persuasive case without it. He didn't and the book suffers. I would recommend a few ev psych books to balance Boteach's words with some science such as Sperm Wars, The Evolution of Desire or even The Moral Animal.

Regardless, if you're a young person, you should read this before you go the way of your parents generation. And if you're older, maybe it's not too late to turn it around.
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Format: Paperback
The only male role models many American men have these days are people on TV. Imagine if we all lived like most of the greedy philanderers we see on TV! What kind of a culture would this be? What would happen to the American family? If you have kids, I doubt that's the kind of society you would want them to grow up in or the people you want them to become!

A lot of men feel like failures because they don't have a new girlfriend, car, boat, house, etc. every so often. Men like me who are committed to their family aren't living the "cool" life as seen in the movies and on TV (though the celebrities aren't either, and that's why so many of them are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol). And so sometimes a man asks himself, why do I make this sacrifice? I'm getting old, my hair is falling out, my belly is getting bigger (not that we can't help that), and I'm barely caught up on my bills! It takes a book like this to make a man realize he's acting like a wimp.

I personally understand the pressure in our society. TVs are everywhere! They tell you that you don't have enough and are not good enough. Bimbo male celebrities have become the role models! Our nation's leaders aren't doing a very good job of being role models and neither are many religious leaders. Many of them are getting in trouble for having affairs and stealing money. We have TVs now in the break room at my work, in the gym, and I get to see tons of advertisements on billboards on my drive to and from work. It's hard to just shut the media off and start living once again. But if you want to be a good father, husband, and not spend the rest of your life in vain pursuits and depression, it's something you'll have to do. Read this book and pass on the advice to your children.
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Format: Paperback
I'll be upfront I couldn't make it all the way through this book, he makes some very strange claims about men and women that are huge generalizations. He claims that porn is boring and he doesn't understand why men watch it?porn is about fantasy not reality. Women enjoy sex more than men? I guess maybe some but I wouldn't say that's the rule, consider the porn industry and who they try to appeal to. This book is saying that men feel like failures in life and that's why they're broken. Men are the reason for all the divorce in America even if women file 67% of the time or three quarters as he said. Women feel ugly and unloved because all men want tiny stick figure women not full sized women. Look around America there's tons of non stick figured women dating and getting married. Many men like a women with curves I don't know where he gets his evidence for this? Do men control the fashion industry? Is this why models are thin?. Any way this book basically says the same things over and over again. Men's problem are all their fault, women are victims of broken men and all their problems are men's fault. Apparently he doesn't see women as people with individual responsibility and being capable of have their own disfunction. This book is offensive to men who have dated dysfunctional women and have been badly effected by these relationships. Men are not broken as a whole and women are not victims as a whole. This book could be cut in half because of the constant repeating.
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