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Growing up fatherless, though not without mentors, Greg Alan Williams struggled for many years to learn the hard lessons of manhood, which he now passes on in Boys to Men. Convinced that alcohol and drugs and the affection of women made him a man, Williams lived self-destructively, despite a promising career as an actor. Caught up in the glamour of Hollywood, Williams was an absent father until he realized he was repeating the mistakes of the past.
In 1992, Williams came into his own when Los Angeles rioted over the acquittal of four policemen who had beaten a man named Rodney King. During the riots, Williams intervened and rescued a Japanese-American man from the clutches of an angry mob. That action, praised as heroic by the media and recorded in his first book, A Gathering of Heroes, was evidence that Williams had finally learned how to be a man.
In the past four years, Williams has traveled the country speaking to youth and community groups about responsibility and adulthood, "showing up for life" in the face of fear and peer pressure, and resisting violence in the struggle for justice. In Boys to Men, he delivers what amounts to a roadmap to adulthood, following Good Orderly Direction (G.O.D.) and learning to accept the lessons of failure as much as the rewards of success.
Honest and anecdotal, Williams has a message that cuts across race and class and prepares the men of tomorrow, as well as their parents, for the journey to come.
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Grating ``inspiration'' alleviated by patches of genuinely moving memoir. Baywatch star Alan-Williams (A Gathering of Heroes, 1994) found the road from boyhood to manhood fraught with obstacles. He has overcome alcohol and drugs, as well as a sexist attitude toward women. He used to be a deadbeat father: Like many men, he was ashamed that he couldn't make enough money to support his son as generously as he wanted to, so he sent nothing. Having grown up without a father himself, he eventually realized that his journey would have been much easier if he'd had someone to show him the way, someone who could have lent him a ``map'' of his own experience. So he decided to become a father to his own son. This book is a further gesture toward Alan-Williams's commitment to showing boys the way. In a feminist era, some of his rhetoric seems dated; in many passages (those about self-respect, for instance, or facing fears of failure) the word ``person'' could easily be substituted for ``man.'' However, there are others whose gender specificity is valuable; in one chapter he asks why war and violence are always viewed as the ultimate passages to manhood. Alan-Williams writes well about his own complicated experiences. He describes ``Mr. Blue,'' his mother's boyfriend, who left a mixed legacy about being a man, taking an active and caring interest in the boy, yet abusive to his mother, in the end nearly killing her. However, the inspirational mission of this book is too self- conscious. Alan-Williams constantly repeats peppy mantras like ``Suit up and show up for life.'' And sometimes he talks down to his readers: ``There's this guy I like to listen to, his name is Deepak Chopra.'' Alan-Williams's road is paved with good intentions, but we can't help feeling we've been down this path before. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Williams, a former actor on Baywatch and author of a memoir of the Los Angeles riots (A Gathering of Heroes), has trodden a hard road to maturity, and in this collection of inspirational essays, he attempts to pass on lessons learned. Growing up fatherless in Des Moines, the author thought "a man's worth was measured primarily in relation to women, wealth, and war." Drinking and drugs, he adds, helped him ignore the challenge of trying to be his best, and he initially ignored the son he fathered. But Williams found what he calls Good Orderly Direction (G.O.D.) from many sources: religion, friends, nature. Now he emphasizes education and service. As an African American, Williams offers a special message to black youths concerned that there may be only one way to be authentically black, who grow up in a rap-infused culture that denigrates women and who may reflexively blame racism for more complicated problems. However, his earnest wisdom can devolve into cliches and his anecdotes meander. His book reads like transcribed speeches, and Williams, a public speaker, likely best delivers his message in person.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Doubleday, 1997. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0385486871
Book Description Doubleday, 1997. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110385486871
Book Description Doubleday, 1997. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1. Seller Inventory # DADAX0385486871