One of my former students, Nathan Martin, had worked with Reagan culture czar Bill Bennett on his sequel to The Book of Virtues, a collection of classic and contemporary readings entitled The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood.
It explores the traits and virtues of manhood, some arguably lost in our feminized and gender-neutral age, using stories, poems, and reflections from authors ranging from Homer and Shakespeare to Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan. (Luther even makes an appearance!) The book is divided into chapters dealing with Man at War; Man at Work; Man in Sports, Play, & Leisure; Man in the Polis; Man with Woman and Children; Man in Prayer and Reflection.
The Acknowledgements credit not only Nathan but also a slew of other Patrick Henry College products: Christopher Beach, Olivia Linde, Brian Dutze, Shane Ayers, and David Carver. That’s virtually the whole research team, drawing on their background in the Great Books, their perceptive thinking about these issues, and their writing and editing skills. So I’m very proud of them.
Nathan is also a fan of this blog (you might also recognize some of those other names as occasional commenters) and of the discussions that we have here. He sent me two copies of the book, one for me and one to give away on my blog.
So I will celebrate my birthday Hobbit style: Instead of getting a present, I will give a present. Well, actually I’m not giving it; Nathan is. And it won’t really be a gift. Unlike God, I am making you earn it. I’d like to start one of our famous discussions. And the person deemed to have made the best comment will receive the free book. (I haven’t quite determined how this will be decided yet. Maybe it will be obvious. Maybe we’ll vote on it.) The comments, for the purposes of the contest, will be closed at midnight Eastern time on Sunday.
So here is the topic for discussion: What is “manliness” in your thinking and in your experience?
I’d like to hear from women (what are the masculine traits that you look for in a man?) and men (when did you have to “act like a man,” and what did that entail?), and from people in various stages of life (boys, youth, husbands, fathers, and old guys like I have now become).
By the way, if you don’t want to hold out for a free book, you can buy one by clicking the links.