Jessica Reaves, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune (that most endangered of vocations), recently listed the following books as recent contributions to the contemporary discussion of the state of men. I’m not sure I would agree with all of her assessments, but I thought the list worthy of passing on:
“1. The Trouble With Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do by Peg Tyre, Crown, 320 pages, $24.95
Tyre, a Newsweek reporter, takes on a controversial theory—that boys are ill-served by prevailing educational practices—and defuses it with meticulous research and a candid tone. The result is a thoughtful, invaluable investigation into how boys learn. Hint: It’s not by sitting quietly with a good book.
2. Save the Males: Why Men Matter and Why Women Should Care by Kathleen Parker, Random House, 215 pages, $26
Fans of Parker’s syndicated newspaper column will relish this sharp-tongued examination of how men (and masculinity) have suffered at the hands of feminists, television writers and lowered expectations. And feminists. Did we mention those horrible, mean feminists?
3. The Decline of Men: How the American Male is Tuning Out, Giving Up, and Flipping Off His Future by Guy Garcia, Harper, 325 pages, $24.95
Have video games, 24-hour sports channels and fantasy football reduced America’s men to a pack of little boys? Journalist Guy Garcia thinks so, and he makes a compelling argument in this unsettling treatise on modern manhood (which, as far as Garcia is concerned, is basically indistinguishable from kindergarten).
4. Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men: Understanding the Critical Years Between 16 and 26, by Michael Kimmel, Harper, 332 pages, $25.95
If you’ve ever had a conversation with a teenage boy and wondered what on earth was going on behind the blank stare and slightly open mouth, this book will serve you well. Kimmel, a gender studies expert at SUNY Stony Brook, is the godfather of the “Why Boys Behave Like Boys” genre, and his latest work exposes the gamut of male post-adolescent experiences (from sex to housework) with humor and empathy.”
Here’s another book not listed by Reaves: Men to Boys: The Making of Modern Immaturity by Gary Cross. Also looks interesting.
As I’ve said a few times before, the Christian church can’t avoid questions of gender, because the Bible has already staked a claim on men and women for the advancement of the kingdom. Those who can read a book or two from this list will help themselves to figure out the current state of the gender debate and to assist their churches in whatever capacity in developing a thoroughly biblical view of masculinity.