Customer Reviews: Manhood in America: A Cultural History
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on October 19, 2011
I ordered the First Edition of this book several years ago, and have referred to sections of it many, many times as I observe what is going on within myself, as well as the profound struggles of men around me. Manhood in America at times deeply resonates with my own pain and disappointment, and helps to explain why we (men) do some of the crazy things we do, in an effort to compensate for what we have now (since we entered the industrial/technical age about 150 years ago): a world that is dismally unsatisfying to men, and has cast us adrift in many ways. I am very much in favor of Michael Kimmel's call to a more "democratic" definition of manhood - any other option leaves us open to being even more lost than we are now. By the way, this is one of the best researched books I've ever read (the bibliography of Kimmel's sources is approximately the last 100 pages of the book!)
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on June 26, 2015
Kimmel argues well that struggling to fulfill archetypes for American manhood, especially going forward from the early 19th c., has caused much anxiety in American men, the focus being on white, mostly middle-class, traditionally dominant men. Kimmel takes us through the rise of those men's worries, especially over being dominated by others, whether other men, women, immigrants or minorities, and ways they responded through reasserting control or by escaping.
This fascinating cultural history uses everything from fraternal organizations and political tracts, to John Wayne films and Eminem's lyrics to make its argument. It's jargon-free and very accessible for a scholarly work.
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on June 11, 2015
Fantastic academic survey of the Hx of Manhood in America. The first 2/3 are tough but worth it as he later shows how theories and schools of thought are rerun during later periods of hx. Crucial to understanding the water we all swim in.
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on March 23, 2013
This is the most interesting book I have ever read about masculinity. It explains in detail the history of manhood (as the title offers) in a very easy way to read, amusing and with the most amazing details, statistics and anecdotes about famous people, philosophers, writers, sociologists, and just normal men. Is a must if you are interested in gender studies
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on March 2, 2015
Shipping and other seller experiences were great. The book itself, however, is a slow read and I've had a hard time getting into it (and I love the topic as a Women's & Gender Studies major).
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on August 15, 2016
Great book - well worth the read.
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on July 9, 2011
This is a great book it was assigned for a history class in my university and I have to say it was a pleasure to read. It gives amazing detail about a topic that I was not very familiar with, totally recommend it. It's worth reading!
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on November 8, 1997
I found Michael Kimmel's book to be a fabulous portrayal of the roots of American sex roles. He uses 3 categories of manhood to describe American men: The Heroic Artisan, Genteel Patriarch and the Self-Made Man. What is very interesting is that he explains, with excessive evidence, how business interests have effectively devalued the latter 2 models, leaving the Self-Made Man as the only thing for American men to strive for. Even more interesting, is the way he documents what this ideal does to the marginalized; minorities, women, immigrants, and working class men. Fortunately, he disagrees with Robert Bly about the need for men to run off into the woods and bond-men have been doing that for years. Instead, he calls on men to embrace feminist philosophy as they (feminists) are not man-haters, but those who really love men, because they "love us enough to believe that we can change." All in all, this is a great book for all men and women who are uncomfortable with gender roles in today's society and who want to learn where they came from. This book truly provides real hope for men.
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on September 24, 2005
This is a very interesting historical survey of American manhood from the early American Republic to the present day (at the time of last publication). Kimmel draws from a variety of sources to illustrate how ideas, images, and events shaped and were shaped by a continuing construction of a unique American understanding of masculinity. I understand that it is currently out of print, but I've heard rumors of a new printing fairly soon. If this is the case, then I heartily recommend this book to those interested in gender studies or cultural history. Even if you're simply interested in historical ideas of manhood or how current ideas of gender roles are in fact historically- based, this is a book for you.
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on September 23, 2011
There are a lot of things about this book that are really great. The actual cultural history of manhood in America is fantastic, and his identification of the cultural ideals of Heroic Artisan, Genteel Patriarch and the Self-Made Man are particularly helpful concepts for making sense of it all. I've never seen it anywhere else. The first half of the book focuses on this, and was quite absorbing and illuminating. It explained, in my opinion, the Tea Party movement as well as right-wing Libertarians. The problem really shows itself in the second half of the book (almost seeming like a different person wrote it) where he loses his objectivity and replaces it with misandry instead of what is really needed in order to understand the subject (the American white male and his culture) which would be empathy. I think there's probably a way to point out the absurdity of some of the beliefs of white men's culture without being so nasty about it, and I feel that approach kept him from really getting to the core of the subject matter (which would have done a lot more to point up how people can change the problems with men's culture in the US). If I could give the first half 5 stars and the second half 2 stars, I would.
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