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on March 8, 2004
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). Many men have died for their country, saved lives, reared masculine sons and feminine daughters and been bold warriors for the kingdom on God and yet did not enjoy repelling or hunting. I fear we learn a lot about John Elderedge and about men LIKE him (and there are many,perhaps even a narrow majority, although I wonder) than men in general; those of us who love the great "indoors" are virtually ignored or relegated to a category (by default) as less than masculine (although I do love the outdoors, just not hunting or repelling; I am a hiker).

The author is unusually weak in Bible interpretation, but he is no heretic. He does, however, point out that Adam stood silently alongside Eve while she ate of the fruit (he gives credit to, "The Silence of Adam," by Larry Crabb); on that interpretation, he is right on. And that is a key and crucial thought. He is weak in the interpretation department elsewhere throughout the book. Unfortunately, many of his points come from popular movies, great illustrations for the men who probably need the book most (those who live life vicariously through movies and TV). But again, a segment of us (who would rather play cards or take our wives dancing rather than tube out) were left out.

The first half of the book disenchanted me; the second half was much better and worth the reading. His comments about spiritual warfare need contemplation.

For men who have temperaments like Elderedge (the restless, deep feeling, and aggressive kind) or who have been stifled and intimidated by a feminized version of Christianity, this book is bold and radical enough to wake you out of your stupor. But it is not an "on the mark," response, but a reactionary (and overly emotional) one. If that's what floats your boat, you'll love it. If you are a bit more laid back (like myself and many other guys), you will not enjoy this book as much. Of course, if you are a passive wimp, you NEED this book, whether you will like it or not!

Some other books I would recommend (as better) in this genre include Gordon Dalbey's, "Father and Son," Robert Hicks, "The Masculine Journey" (if you can find it; this is an excellent book), and Robert Lewis', "Raising A Modern Day Night" (on bringing up boys). To my way of thinking, these are less reactionary and right on the mark.

So is this a good book or a bad one? It is certainly not a bad book. And though it is not truly Scripturally based, it is not heretical (just extra-scriptural). If you share common frustrations and experiences with John Elderege, you may find really enjoy it. For many guys, this would be good medicine; for others of us, it is at least thought provoking.
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on October 28, 2015
A book and a message that changed my life years ago. It's been sad to read "christians" tear down this message, trying to hyper-critique the ways John shares stories from the Bible or how he speaks to men. Men all over the world found freedom to be themselves in their experience and relationship with God, to begin to actually walk with God, hear His voice and know His heart. I know men all over the U.S. who began to rise up to love their wives, find their calling, engage the lives of their kids, and begin to love the life God has given them and live it well! And thousands of families have also experienced so much good because of this.

If you're the type that feels it's your god-given duty to scour the texts of books to find all "the errors" and expose "heresy", I'm sure you can (or already have) gleefully torn away at John's message. But, honestly, I ask, "Really? Why not just become an IRS agent instead?" And, I say, "Get a life." Sincerely, I say, go get a life that worth's living! Stop hiding behind your computer or your pulpit or your religious duties or your secret addictions and find the wide open spaces of life!

The message of WAH, both in the book and in the retreats Ransomed Heart put on based on this message was an invitation for me to experience God in ways I never thought possible and to experience life in its fullness in ways I never thought possible. And not only was it an invitation, it was permission to finally live my life. Maybe that doesn't make sense to many, but it was a game-changer for me. After returning from a WAH retreat, my wife literally said to me, "What happened? You even look different." My life will never be the same. Nor will the life of my wife and my children.
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on April 19, 2016
I read a lot of books on theology and spirituality and this is easily the one that's most touched my heart. It's a beautifully written look at the fundamental desires we all have as men, how those are intrinsic to our creation in the image of God, and how the fallen world (and especially modern culture) has wounded us and tries to keep us from living out that masculine calling. There is some neat (non-doctrinal) theology here most referring to Genesis and the creation. How Eve as the last thing created by God is the "crown of creation" and how the model of men's desire for Woman is a model for how He wants us to pursue Him. It's an easy read full of movie references, quotes and poetry that speak to the heart of a man. Can't recommend this enough for a Christian man who knows he was made for more than the culture tells him. Fathers and husbands (or those aspiring to be) will get the most out of this.
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on October 6, 2015
I've raised four boys, who are all pretty much "all boy." Like most males, my sons and their father did not articulate their struggles in life to me; in fact, as the "Other," a woman, and their mom, besides; they mostly didn't even try to share their inner life. Resisted my efforts to "pry," most of the time. No doubt that was partly because men, being less verbally oriented in general, find it hard to put their experience into words. Well, John Eldredge doesn't have that problem! He is eloquent, perceptive, persuasive, inspiring...the list could go on. I understand things about the male psyche in a deeper way than ever before. The Eldredges have a powerful annointing for teaching men (and women) to battle the lies the Enemy of our souls seeks relentlessly to surround us with. Worth it's weight in gold, in my opinion.
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on September 21, 2016
couldn't finish the book. It was contradictory and never had too much of a point. I felt like it never applied to me. The premise was that we all need to be better men of God and not rely on validation from anyone else, including our wives, families, church, etc and to be real men. Then it would say we don't need to be passive, but we need to love our wives. Don't let your wife tame you by making you sell your motorcycle and then she blames you for not being adventurous enough. Stuff like that. I hate to say that after what others have said, but the scriptures do it for me. The real word of God. Even other books with a much clearer point. He does quote movies a lot more than scripture. I guess the analogies are supposed to help. I really feel like there are much better books out there on the subject to help you become a better father, husband, and man. go read some Grant Cardone.
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on March 12, 2017
Outside of the Holy Bible, this is the most important book I have ever read! I personally have read it cover-to-cover three times and hope to read it again soon! I have probably given out two dozen copies as gifts. If you are wanting to understand who you truly are as a man, this is a must read. If you are a woman that truly wants to understand men, this is a must read! I cannot praise it highly enough!
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on March 21, 2017
Some of the doctrine that he subscribes to is very wrong. It's really hard to go into it here, but the error is subtly and quietly slipped in so that the typical reader is bowled over by the warm wrapping of his emotionally satisfying story. By the time anyone raises what should be obvious objections, people are already programed and sucked in. Very wrong.
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on February 4, 2015
Okay, so this book started off great about the adventurous spirit of man. Awesome. I thought it really hit home in a lot of ways talking about how men want to live dangerously and adventurously and then tied it in religiously saying that we were designed that way. It was pretty compelling and helped me understand myself better. There are some cheesy parts but overall, the first half of the book was great.

Then, half way through the book, it takes this turn about men having issues from growing up and how we have these great wounds that need to be healed. It becomes quite sappy, very religious (uncomfortably so), and tries to convince you that you have some horrible wound that you can only cure by sobbing your eyes out and taking to God. Now, this might be great for a lot of men because this is a harsh world and many of us might have these issues. However, for someone like myself who had a wonderful upbringing, this second half of the book becomes quite uncomfortable and I'm unable to relate.

Maybe that was the whole point of the book and I didn't realize that before starting. Either way, it might be worthwhile to read just to get some perspective.
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on March 15, 2017
Picked this up at a recommendation from a IG blogger (go figure) and years later someone else recommended it to me as well (which is a fun surprise). Great book. Has some religious stuff in it which I didn't mind but didn't take to heart either. ;) Originally I bought this book to figure out how to interact with my husband and learn some of the 'quirks' of men and communication but now I will want to reread since I have a baby boy earthside.
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on May 13, 2016
I've read and reread Wild at Heart over the past 12 yrs. Core truth never goes out of style. But we need to be reminded periodically, lest we forget. A must read for men seeking authentic masculinity AND spirituality-which are neither diametrically opposed, nor mutually exclusive.
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