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Raising Boys Without Men: How Maverick Moms Are Creating the Next Generation of Exceptional Men Hardcover – July 28, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Single or gay mothers-whom Drexler dubs "maverick moms"-are "real" parents, in case anyone needed reminding. The families they create are "as real and as legitimate as any other." The author, an assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, bases her book on an extensive research study she conducted. Though she's curiously cagey on numbers, she does reveal that she interviewed a variety of lesbian mothers, single mothers, sons of single moms and sons of two-mother families. The results of her survey serve as a refreshing antidote to critics who insist that family life today is on the verge of being atomized. In an upbeat but never preachy tone, Drexler retells anecdote after anecdote illustrating her point (namely, that female-headed households may be better for boys than households with men). The book is mostly narrative in structure, with bulleted points at the end of each chapter explaining what "maverick moms" do that makes them successful parents (they encourage their sons to participate in a wide variety of activities; they actively recruit male figures from their families and the community to be in their sons' lives; they model the behavior they want their sons to emulate, and set examples of strength and compassion; etc.). This important work will serve as a beacon to the country's nearly 10 million single mothers.
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“Truly a cutting-edge book . . . important for everyone who cares about the future of the American family.” ―Carol Gilligan, author of The Birth of Pleasure
“This important work will serve as a beacon to the country's nearly 10 million single mothers.” ―Publishers Weekly
“As I read this book, I could almost hear the sound of the flying monkeys swooping in from out on the right. Books like this are attacked for the truths they tell. And there is no greater truth you can tell to the nation's single mothers than 'Relax. If you love him, support him, listen to him--your boy will turn out just fine.'” ―Bette Midler
“This is a wonderful book--a very necessary book. We live in an age of labels: you're normal, you're not. For the so-called non-traditional families that want only to make their way in the world, labels can do incredible damage. Boys Without Men makes a convincing and empathetic case that very good things come from outside the bounds of our worn-out assumptions.” ―Henry Louis Gates W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University
“This is the answer to those who believe they can attach limits to the idea of family. It's part guide, part affirmation, part eye-opening proof that family is far less about composition, than it is about the power of its love and support.” ―Jann Wenner, editor and publisher, Rolling Stone Magazine
“Peggy Drexler is such a perfect guide to parenting in the 21st century, of what makes the most basic institution of society click, I wondered: How did she get so smart about life? Decades of research, of course, but also an uncanny knack for seeing inside the human heart. Pull up a chair and read this book. You'll be a better parent for it.” ―Margaret Carlson, first woman columnist, Time Magazine, political columnist, Bloomberg News, and Washington editor of The Week magazine.
“This highly readable, well researched, groundbreaking, myth shattering book should lay to rest all unfounded ideological opposition to nontraditional families. Everyone who wants to see the best interest of children served must read and act on this book's wisdom and research. ” ―Alan Dershowitz, Author and Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard University
“Once a decade, it seems, there is a book that suddenly makes it all clear that what we have been led to believe about ourselves, gender roles and expectations is nothing more than hooey. This is such a book. A well-researched and clearly written testament that people are people and families are not nuclear but functional.” ―Rita Henley Jensen, founder and editor in chief, Women's eNews
“I've always been in the idea business. So it's exciting when I see something blow away convention. This book creates controversy. And that's good. Controversy means people are thinking instead of assuming.” ―Donny Deutsch, Chairman and CEO of Deutsch, Inc, Host of CNBC's hit show "The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch", author of "Often Wrong, Never In Doubt"
“Raising Boys without Men changes the terms of our fractious national conversation about how we can raise boys to become good men. Peggy Drexler's thoughtful, engaging book demonstrates that fine parenting comes in various shapes, sizes, and genders.” ―Judith Stacey, Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, Professor of Sociology, New York University
Top customer reviews
The Amazon reviews on this book go on for pages and were very angry at times. I disagree that the book is arguing that moms are better parents than dads, or that 2-mom households are superior to traditional households. The book, rather, defends single mom and 2-mom households as appropriate alternative families for boys to grow up in. Mom and dad families are great too! Sometimes the author didn't say that enough to the taste of traditional families, many of whom have dissed the book (mostly men who felt offended that fathers might not be necessary.) Parents are necessary of course and fathers are a parent like mothers. If you have a mother-father family, of course you're necessary! If you have a two mother family, both moms are part of the equation! Everyone should relax and be happy with whatever family situation they have and not worry about people making other choices.
It would be interesting to read a book about daughters raised by 2 men or single dads. I think it would show that those daughters are as well-adjusted as these boys. I think when you have two parents, or even one parent (but I do think two parents is easier) - and they want the child and they are willing to support that child - that it's going to turn out all right. Gender doesn't have much to do with it so much as having a support system, being prepared to be a parent, and doing your best job.
What I liked best about the book were the stories about the boys. The boys seemed interesting, smart and well-adjusted. As the expecting mother of a boy in a 2-mom family, I felt better reading about the different types of boys and I also felt reassured that I could be a good mom (and dad at times) even though I have no experience with boys.
But to understand that, one needs to actually read the book and also to understand sociological methods of study - studying human experience is not like studying cause and effect in a lab. One also needs to hear and grasp the difference between studies on boys with fathers who have abandoned them - the studies most often cited and associated with stats about the negative effects of not having a father - and this study which is on boys who do not have a father in the picture and never have. In this way, this is new research.
The book doesn't, to me, say that men are not necessary to boys - in fact the author spends a great deal of the book talking about how boys who do not have fathers get access to (and are encouraged by their "maverick moms" to get access to) men and male role models. She finds this to be of benefit for the boys.
She does also say that, based on this research, she sees boys being raised in this specific circumstance (boys without fathers who have abandoned them and who are being raised by a mom or moms) doing very well and developing in a very balanced and healthy manner.
My issue with the book is two-fold. I'd like to see more research and a follow-up with the subjects of her research - I think that would lend itself to a stronger work.
I also just found the writing to be generally unorganized and a bit repetitive. This was very distracting to me as I read.
So interesting information - would like more research and more data - writing itself only so-so.
Most recent customer reviews
book is a helpful resource.
But, I see a trend. More information about how great women are, and how men aren't really needed.Read more