Manhood in America: A Cultural History

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9780195181135: Manhood in America: A Cultural History
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For more than three decades, the women's movement and its scholars have exhaustively studied women's complex history, roles, and struggles. In Manhood in America, Second Edition, author Michael S. Kimmel--a leading authority in gender studies--argues that it is time for men to rediscover their own evolution. Drawing on a myriad of sources, including advice books, magazine columns, political pamphlets, and popular novels and films, he demonstrates that American men have been eternally frustrated by their efforts to keep up with constantly changing standards. Kimmel contends that men must follow the lead of the women's movement; it is only by mining their past for its best qualities and worst excesses that men will free themselves from the constraints of the masculine ideal.

Condensed and revised in this second edition, Manhood in America features updated chapters and examples that extend its coverage through the Bush administration. Touching on issues of masculinity as they pertain to current events, the book discusses such timely topics as post-9/11 politics, "self-made" masculinities (including those of Internet entrepreneurs), presidential campaigns, and gender politics. It also covers contemporary debates about fatherlessness, the biology of male aggression, and pop psychologists like John Gray and Dr. Laura. Outlining the various ways in which manhood has been constructed and portrayed in America, this engaging history is ideal as a main text for courses on masculinity or as a supplementary text for courses in gender studies and cultural history.

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About the Author:

Michael Kimmel is at SUNY at Stony Brook.

Review:


I think this book is of continuing importance and relevance. Pioneering when it first appeared, it has inspired many to look further into many of the topics it explores and continues to be essential reading for anyone seeking a grounding in the field. I am always amazed to see new studies emerge that are, in many respects, further elaborations of astute observations Kimmel made years agoEL I cannot imagine a course on American masculinities that did not assign Manhood in America as required reading. It's that essential. -Christopher Forth, University of Kansas


I am quite loyal to this book-it is accessible to undergraduate students but is not simplified at the expense of key concepts and historical change. I have not been able to find a book that does what Manhood in America does in such a clear and compelling fashion. -Dennis Deslippe, Franklin and Marshall College


It's comprehensive without being pedantic. One of the thing that makes it so appealing is the way culture, politics, history, the arts, etc., are brought into the discussion. [I mean, the subtitle is "A cultural history," but the integration feels natural, and the argument does build up, layer by layer, in each of these cultural domains. The size of it makes it a whole lot less intimidating to undergrads than the (hardback) 1st editionEL. I feel like a Mormon missionary: having spent a couple years out convincing folks that theirs is the true religion, they're supposed to be stronger in their faith than before their mission. After writing about this book, I'm excited at the possibility of putting it to use in the classroom. --Mark Riddle, University of Northern Colorado


The writing style is superb. It is 'wonderfully readable, ' meaning that it is crisp, clear, written in an interesting and engaging way, and often quite wittyELA highly readable and illuminating cultural history and meditation on the notion of self-made manhood and its impact on the construction of American masculinity over the past 200 years. -Nelson Rodriguez, the College of New Jersey


A new edition would obviously need to be updated with recent historical events, specifically the 2008 electionELAlso, I think an updated version would need to take seriously how global politics, recent immigration issues, and the current recession are shaping manhood in AmericaELThe text serves as a perfect teaching tool for relaying how masculinities are socially and historically constructed. I use this text at the beginning of each semester of my Masculinities seminar and constantly refer back to it. -Dana Berkowitz, Louisiana State University


The approach is a thorough and complex cultural exploration of white, heterosexual, Christian, middle class masculinity. The book is fabulous, brilliant and much needed. I just think we need more about the 'othered' masculinities or more of an acknowledgement of the privilege and specificity associated with 'American masculinity. -Ami Lynch, George Washington University


"Manhood in America is a much needed exploration into that vast and neglected territory: the history of the American man. Michael Kimmel's meticulous research delves into everything from military psychiatric reports to Victorian boys' advice manuals, and surfaces with a thought-provoking and original account of American manhood's troubled stumbling path into modern times."--Susan Faludi, author of Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women


"Pioneering when it first appeared, this book has inspired many to look further into the topics it explores and continues to be essential reading for anyone seeking a grounding in the field. I am always amazed to see new studies emerge that are, in many respects, further elaborations of astute observations Kimmel made years ago.EL I cannot imagine a course on American masculinities that did not assign Manhood in America as required reading. It's that essential."--Christopher Forth, University of Kansas


I think this book is of continuing importance and relevance. Pioneering when it first appeared, it has inspired many to look further into many of the topics it explores and continues to be essential reading for anyone seeking a grounding in the field. I am always amazed to see new studies emerge that are, in many respects, further elaborations of astute observations Kimmel made years agoEL I cannot imagine a course on American masculinities that did not assign Manhood in America as required reading. It's that essential. -Christopher Forth, University of Kansas


I am quite loyal to this book-it is accessible to undergraduate students but is not simplified at the expense of key concepts and historical change. I have not been able to find a book that does what Manhood in America does in such a clear and compelling fashion. -Dennis Deslippe, Franklin and Marshall College


It's comprehensive without being pedantic. One of the thing that makes it so appealing is the way culture, politics, history, the arts, etc., are brought into the discussion. [I mean, the subtitle is "A cultural history," but the integration feels natural, and the argument does build up, layer by layer, in each of these cultural domains. The size of it makes it a whole lot less intimidating to undergrads than the (hardback) 1st editionEL. I feel like a Mormon missionary: having spent a couple years out convincing folks that theirs is the true religion, they're supposed to be stronger in their faith than before their mission. After writing about this book, I'm excited at the possibility of putting it to use in the classroom. --Mark Riddle, University of Northern Colorado


The writing style is superb. It is 'wonderfully readable, ' meaning that it is crisp, clear, written in an interesting and engaging way, and often quite wittyELA highly readable and illuminating cultural history and meditation on the notion of self-made manhood and its impact on the construction of American masculinity over the past 200 years. -Nelson Rodriguez, the College of New Jersey


A new edition would obviously need to be updated with recent historical events, specifically the 2008 electionELAlso, I think an updated version would need to take seriously how global politics, recent immigration issues, and the current recession are shaping manhood in AmericaELThe text serves as a perfect teaching tool for relaying how masculinities are socially and historically constructed. I use this text at the beginning of each semester of my Masculinities seminar and constantly refer back to it. -Dana Berkowitz, Louisiana State University


The approach is a thorough and complex cultural exploration of white, heterosexual, Christian, middle class masculinity. The book is fabulous, brilliant and much needed. I just think we need more about the 'othered' masculinities or more of an acknowledgement of the privilege and specificity associated with 'American masculinity. -Ami Lynch, George Washington University


"Manhood in America is a much needed exploration into that vast and neglected territory: the history of the American man. Michael Kimmel's meticulous research delves into everything from military psychiatric reports to Victorian boys' advice manuals, and surfaces with a thought-provoking and original account of American manhood's troubled stumbling path into modern times."--Susan Faludi, author of Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women


"Pioneering when it first appeared, this book has inspired many to look further into the topics it explores and continues to be essential reading for anyone seeking a grounding in the field. I am always amazed to see new studies emerge that are, in many respects, further elaborations of astute observations Kimmel made years ago.EL I cannot imagine a course on American masculinities that did not assign Manhood in America as required reading. It's that essential."--Christopher Forth, University of Kansas


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