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Knights Without Armor: A Guide to the Inner Lives of Men Paperback – March, 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Males will find this a powerful volume. Kipnis, a psychotherapist who serves as the co-director of California's Pangaea Institute for Gender Studies, disapprovingly examines the treatment given male infants, children and adolescents, chastising society for forcing them to measure themselves by the standards of heroes. Although in near accord with the aims of groups like NOW, he also makes telling arguments that some feminists are motivated primarily by hatred of men, and shows how males are discriminated against in such matters as divorce, child custody, sentencing for crimes, etc. The author presents 12 tasks for men--for example, "to build male community and begin healing the wounds between the sexes"--and urges them to stand up for their social and political rights. More didactic than Iron John (although strongly influenced by the Robert Bly work), this is perhaps a more helpful guide for what Kipnis calls "the wounded male."
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

A fresh vision that points the way for a new male psychology. -- from foreword by Robert A. Johnson

Kipnis' elegant portraits of men offer poignant support for his claims. -- Los Angeles Times

Thoughtful and provocative. -- San Francisco Chronicle
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Indigo Phoenix Books (March 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974509108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974509105
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #524,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Aaron Kipnis has put into words what I have felt for many years. He says that the "value placed on men's lives, as compared to women's, is greatly depreciated in our culture." It starts with how male infants are treated by their mothers right up to how devalued were the lives of so many men who fought in Vietnam. Had it been women who were dying senseless deaths over there, Kipnis points out, the war would not have lasted near as long.
He tell us in a way that resonates with me that, "Men frequently feel disconnected from an authentic source of aliveness within us." Maybe it is because so many of us have constructed an "heroic personality that is hard, inflexible and, like the armor of old, heavy to drag around."
This book was given to me by a friend who, with me, is a member of The Mankind Project, New Warrior Community, a group that Kipnis talks about in his book. The book has helped me to really understand the obsessive overachieving and workaholism of so many men and how they have numbed their lives and avoided real intimacy with both men and women in their lives, especially their significant others. (In reality, not very significant!)
Kipnis says, "This numbness includes loss of emotional and even physical sensitivity." Men come home and escape into a few beers and the tube or even worse. The price we pay, he says, is pain: isolation, alienation, stressed-induced illnesses, sex and love addictions, codependence (taking care of our women before even thinking of ourselves and being dependent on them for approval), fear and anxiety and God knows how much more.
This is a powerful book and an easy read. It is mesmerizing because it is so damn true and accurate. Kipnis does not stop at describing this devastating phenomenon. He offers up many ways for us to seek healing.
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Format: Paperback
Aaron Kipnis offers a comprehensive view of all aspects of the men's movement in this 302-page volume. Inspired by issues raised by members of an addiction/recovery men's group headed by the author, the book looks at various male images. Kipnis critically examines the old masculine values of the "heroic" male as well as those of the newer, sensitive man (what Kipnis calls the "feminized" man), and addresses at length the emerging "authentic, integrated" masculinity inspired by Robert Bly and friends. Intertwined with these accounts are stories and vignettes from men in the group, new knights of the round table on a quest for a new masculine paradigm.
Although the metaphor of the knights seems to get a little corny at times, the book has much to recommend it. This is the first, if not the only, book that globally looks at all facets of the men's movement. Everything from circumsicion, to myth, ritual and initiation, to the politics of male-bashing, is covered. There is an excellent table comparing the masculine images of the heroic, feminized, and integrated man and looking at how these differ along physical, mental, and emotional lines. There is a section on men's resources, with names and addresses of organizations and suggestions on how to get involved. Also, unlike most books on men's issues, this one actually has an index--a refreshing feature indeed!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book in 1992 (?) and it gave me an entirely a new perspective on myself as a white male American. I was so taken that when I got to the end and saw that Aaron invited readers to contact him I did. Consequently I went to Santa Rosa to meet him and ended up not only attending a course he and his partner were giving at Sonoma State but got involved deeply in men's work. I included this and Aaron's other books on the reading list I used for a course I tought on men and women for 13 years. And it led to my writing an essay "Confessions of a Recovering Male" which has been published in several places, including an unauthorized translation into Slovak!

Aaron is real. He speaks from his heart and from a life that has been a challenge for him (as I suspect all men, including myself, find life.)

I am delighted to see that it has been re-issued. Just read it; if you are a woman trying to understand a man, or a man struggling to understand himself or a son/daughter trying to understand your father. The ultimate irony of all this is that I came upon this as Amazon Recommendation #500 something on a day in which I made email contact with Aaron for the first time in many years!

(Although the reviewer line above says I am from Claremont, CA, I emigrated to Tasmania 4 months ago and am now a resident of Hobart, TAS, Australia)
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Format: Hardcover
Author Aaron Kipnis wrote in the Foreword to this 1991 book, “The knights of ancient times were heavily armored from head to toe… Today, men doing battle in the marketplace have donned a new sort of armor. Many powerful men have constructed a heroic personality that is hard, inflexible and, like the armor of old, heavy to drag around… In today’s society, however, men are discovering …that they are no longer impervious to the armor-piercing arrows slung by people who have lost connection to their souls Men are beginning to realize that in order to face the challenges ahead, they must find a way to remove the armor the immobilizes them… They must cultivate a new self-image that accurately reflects what it truly means to be a man, which is the quest undertaken by those whose lives are examined in this book…

“Through the course of this book… these new knights of the round table learn to meet the challenges of life by rising to a new level of consciousness and deepening their awareness of the inner aspects of the masculine soul… The myth of the lone hero, who conquers all through the force of his will, is no longer the image the inspires the modern man in search of his soul. And the idealized feminine… is no longer seen as the sole source of nurturance, healing and wholeness for man. A new myth for a new time emerges in this book… of a soulful, life-generating, sensitive, and joyful man who is also potent, fierce, and powerful in the world… these men break out of the isolation that plagues so many contemporary men…

“‘Knights Without Armor weds ancient myths of masculinity to the subjective experience of modern men and the objective perspective of hundreds of studies from various scientific fields.
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