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What is a Man? by Waller Randy Newell

What is a Man?

by Waller Randy Newell

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Good, maybe stating the obvious, but still well worth reading. ( )
  charlie68 | Jul 10, 2009 |
I have to admit, I wasn't expecting much from this book, as most of this type are loaded with fillers, with very few real gems. But that isn't the case at all. From Francis Bacon on Love, to St. Augustine on the path to manhood, to Kurt Cobain on how fatherhood changed his life, this book answers almost every question where being a man is concerned.

If you're excepting false macho posturing, you'll be disappointed as every passage in this large book (over 500 pages) is insightful, deeply thought out, and sincere.

There are hundreds of passages, some only a paragraph long, some pages long. The subjects are varied, and include Love, Wisdom, Women, Family, Fatherhood, Childhood and adolescence, Honor, Integrity, War, Character and Conduct, Leadership, Nobility, Rebellion, and much more. There are even some poems (including Kipling's outstanding poem 'If', on what it is to be a man), correspondance, and myths. Each passage is prefaced by a bit of commentary by the editor, Waller R. Newell.

My favorite passages were Kipling's 'If', The Man of Character by Charles de Gaulle, A Man Must Stand Erect by Marcus Aurelius, and the couple passages from John F Kennedy. Actually, this collection is so remarkable, it really is hard to choose favorites.

This book reintroduces (as if it were lost!) all the qualities that men are taught to shun these days, namely, honor, pride, responsibility, strength, and dignity.

I can't recommend this book enough. If you're a man, or know a man (so yes, that means just about everyone), you need to get a copy of this book. It is a breath of fresh air, sorely needed, and indispensible. ( )
2 vote 9days | May 23, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060392967, Hardcover)

What is a man? Good question. According to Waller Newell, a professor of philosophy and political science and a contributor to The Weekly Standard, the last few generations have been "a bad dream" during which the answer to that question has been obscured. Modern representations of manhood as diverse as Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club and David Foster Wallace's Brief Interviews with Hideous Men are cited as proving his point.

Organizing excerpts from a variety of Western literary sources into eight broad sections--the Chivalrous Man, the Gentleman, the Wise Man, the Family Man, the Statesman, the Noble Man, the American Man, and the Invisible Man--Newell traces what he sees as "an unbroken pedigree in the Western conception of what it means to be a man." What Is a Man? promises to "inspire men and boys to reach for the seemingly lost ideals of honor, heroism and integrity," by providing "a source to which concerned readers could turn for guidance and inspiration, a path back to the wisdom of our shared traditions of manly virtue." This approach will work particularly well if your opinions are closely aligned with Newell's; the inclusions reflect his affection for the traditional conception of the masculine demonstrated by the likes of Sir Thomas Malory and Thomas Bulfinch. But even if your masculine ideal differs, the book still makes for a fascinating compendium. And the omissions are as interesting as the inclusions (definitely no Oscar Wilde, but no Norman Mailer and so little Ernest Hemingway?).

Newell sees the lost hero in all of today's apparently baffled and frustrated men (he even refers to a squeegee guy with a Mohawk as a "road warrior Achilles"). His response to this collective confusion is this book of virtues--a kind of literary companion to Susan Faludi's Stiffed--which he hopes will be not only interesting but instructive as well. --J.R.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:07 -0400)

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