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The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood

The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood

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by William J. Bennett

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New York Times best-selling author Bill Bennett uses stories, essays, and historical and contemporary profiles to explore and explain what it means to be a man.

Confusions abound about manhood in today’s culture. Whether it’s MIA fathers, gangster machismo, metrosexual role models, or the idealization of the gay lifestyle, boys


New York Times best-selling author Bill Bennett uses stories, essays, and historical and contemporary profiles to explore and explain what it means to be a man.

Confusions abound about manhood in today’s culture. Whether it’s MIA fathers, gangster machismo, metrosexual role models, or the idealization of the gay lifestyle, boys are subject to a dizzying and dismaying array of options about the path they should take as they grow into manhood. New York Times best-selling author William J. Bennett seeks to chart a clearer course, offering a realizable ideal of manhood, redolent of history and human nature, and practical for contemporary life.

The Book of Man explores the life of men in various contexts: work, play, prayer, war, home, and friendship. Like his classic, The Book of Virtues, Bennett uses essays and stories, myths and history, to bring life to the subject. Aimed at helping families—adults and children—teachers, and policy makers, The Book of Man defines what a man should be, how he should live, and to what he should aspire.

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The Book of Man

Readings on the Path to Manhood
By William J. Bennett

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2011 William J. Bennett
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59555-420-8

Chapter One

Man in War

Spanning twenty-seven years, the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta in ancient Greece forever transformed the landscape of the ancient world. Considered one of the world's first great wars, the Athenians and Spartans fought a bloody and horrific war for freedom. After the first series of battles and amid great sorrow and loss, the Athenian leader Pericles faced his fellow countrymen and delivered his famous funeral oration to memorialize and immortalize the Athenian lives lost.

Of his fallen comrades, said the great Pericles: "For heroes have the whole earth for their tomb; and in lands far from their own, where the column with its epitaph declares it, there is enshrined in every breast a record unwritten with no tablet to preserve it, except that of the heart. These take as your model and, judging happiness to be the fruit of freedom and freedom of valor, never decline the dangers of war."

Pericles' eulogy immortalized the virtuous ideals of war—the idea of sacrificing one's self for liberty, happiness, and state. Pericles understood that he was asking the men of Athens to leave their homes and families behind to die a painful death on the battlefield. He assured them that their death was not in vain. Because of their stoicism and sacrifice, their progeny would live to enjoy the precious right of liberty.

The history of man is rife with war of all kinds, but Pericles' message remains timeless. The actors and plots might change, from the ancient barbaric crusades of Genghis Khan to today's high-tech, super-trained military operations; but men still fight wars. At its core, war has, and always will be, a horrific act of violence between fellow men. The Greek philosopher Plato famously noted, "It is only the dead who have seen the end of war." By definition, war is one of man's most dangerous acts. To engage in war is to risk everything, including your life.

This is why history has long wrestled with the concept of war. What is casus belli? What is a just war? From Aristotle to Aquinas, civilized man has sought to define war as a means of preventing it. Yet, where laws and morals fail, war becomes the answer. It is the last resort for men to solve disputes and settle differences. In essence, war captures the best and worst traits of mankind.

As for the latter, war unleashes the worst violence man is capable of. Living through the American Revolution, Thomas Jefferson admitted, "I have seen enough of one war never to wish to see another." Even if you haven't experienced war firsthand, you can understand the loss, the chaos, and the pain that emanate from broken families, blackened landscapes, and shattered psyches. Behind every war are men using their God-given intellects to plot and scheme the death and torture of other men. What started with hand-to-hand combat developed to spears to swords to bullets to bombs. As cruel as it sounds, war breeds its own culture of war. It should come as no shock that there has never been an extended period of world peace in human history.

With the worst of war, however, also comes the best of men. Often the darkest of moments and the worst of times bring out the finest in men. We will forever remember George Washington crossing the ice-capped Delaware River, the brave men storming the death-trap beaches of Normandy, and the tired, bloodied soldiers raising the flag over Iwo Jima. War provokes the highest virtues of man's soul: honor, fortitude, service, and sacrifice. It is no wonder that the greatest moments of manhood are often found in battle.

What is it about combat that would make a young man leave his home and family to risk death for a cause that is not entirely his own? What is war that a man would fall on an enemy grenade to save his comrades? Simply put, war restores in man the belief that there are some things worth fighting and dying for; things like love, liberty, and faith. Furthermore, it instills in men a notion of priorities (what Augustine called the ordo amorum, the order of the loves) and responsibility for the protection of the individual, the family, and the polis. Famous World War II general George S. Patton said, "Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base ... duty is the essence of manhood."

The fight between life and death has a way of turning boys into men and transforming mobs of untrained civilians into intelligent, coordinated military units. About the nature of war, H. G. Wells said, "One lives in a higher order of being." Philosopher William James taught that combat revived the "martial values" in men and forced on them "intrepidity, contempt of softness, surrender of private interest, obedience to command." There may be no better trial by fire for a man's character than to subject himself to the rigors and abuses of war.

As iron sharpens iron, so also does war whet the rough edges of a man's soul. British minister Sydney Smith, quoted often by Teddy Roosevelt, recognized that "there are seasons in human affairs when qualities, fit enough to conduct the common business of life, are feeble and useless ... [when] God calls all the passions out in their keenness and vigor for the present safety of mankind ... all the secret strength, all the invisible array of the feelings—all that nature has reserved for the great scenes of the world when the usual hopes and aids of man are gone." When laws and morals fail, the strength and fortitude of human passions become nature's protector.

The test of war's virtue can be seen in its fruits—men like George Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, and countless others. These great men surrendered their own volitions to a higher cause, whether family, faith, or state. They did not fear death because they recognized the honor in serving and protecting a cause above their own. "It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country," said the ancient Roman poet Horace.

Having said that, today's modern man remains mostly immune to war or combat. A vast majority of our generation's young men will never don a military uniform or take orders from a military commander. Let us never take war lightly, however, or take our military protection for granted. John Stuart Mill, the British philosopher, said, "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

Some of the worst atrocities committed by mankind were done in the name of war. When entrusted in the wrong hands, the power of war has been the instrument of death for the world's worst men. But, remember, when civility, diplomacy, and the rule of law fail, it is only through war that good conquers evil and freedom crushes tyranny. As Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. told Harvard students in 1895, "War, when you are at it, is horrible and dull. It is only when time has passed that you see that its message was divine." Learn from men at war, pray for peace, but always be ready to fight.

* * *

Profile: Donovan Campbell

Donovan Campbell has always pursued excellence. After he graduated with honors from Princeton University, he finished first in his class in the Marines' basic officer course and later went on to graduate from Harvard Business School. Campbell served two combat deployments in Iraq and another in Afghanistan. He spent a little more than six months in Ramadi, Iraq, at the height of the violence, from March to September 2004. For his outstanding service in that war-torn city he was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon and a Bronze Star with Valor. His book, Joker One, is an account of his tour in Ramadi. Here, from an interview on my radio show, Campbell describes what he learned about leadership, sacrifice, heroism, and courage in his tenure there, embodying to the fullest what the U.S. Marine Corps stands for.

No person was ever honored for what he received," wrote Calvin Coolidge. "Honor has been the reward for what he gave."

For Donovan Campbell, a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps who served in Ramadi during some of the most vicious fighting of Operation Iraqi Freedom, giving wasn't on his mind when he first enrolled in the Marine Officer Candidates School after his junior year at Princeton University. In fact, he was mostly focused on taking.

"I need to do something to get serious about my job and career after Princeton," Campbell recalls thinking, "but I wasn't ready to do a desk job. My mind-set at the time was, 'what will differentiate me from the other middle-of-the-rank students?'"

To Campbell, the Marines seemed like an ideal situation. He would use the honor and character building of military service as a springboard to worldly success.

"So I decided to enroll in Marine Officer Candidates School—that will show toughness—that will show that I'm dedicated, I have perseverance, and [it] will really stand out on a résumé. But I didn't get it at the time—it was mainly about me."

What Campbell did get was a rude awakening.

"Unsurprisingly, after ten weeks of being screamed at, bored, having my head shaved, and being terrified sometimes, I decided there was no way I would be a Marine. And I went back to senior year thinking, 'Fortunately I've crossed that one off the list—what else is there?'

"But as the year went on, the more I thought seriously about who I wanted to become. I'm a Christian and I had starting taking my faith more seriously—I knew my faith called me to do more than serve myself. It called me to put my words into action by serving others. I wanted something that would grow me up and allow me to give back."

So Campbell made the decision to join the Marines.

"If I join the Corps I can serve, I can give back. When I say I'm a Christian, people will know it means something to me because I'm sacrificing at least four years of my life. I knew I was young, I knew I wanted to learn to lead and I didn't see any way to do it [other] than to lead. I didn't want to spend fourteen hours per day in a cubicle behind a computer. I also knew I could have a little a bit of an adventure. So I accepted the commission I had earned the previous summer and became an officer in the Marine Corps the day I graduated."

* * *

Flash forward to the city of Ramadi, Iraq, 2004. One morning every minaret from every mosque in the city started yelling "Jihad! Jihad! Jihad!" Pause. "Jihad! Jihad! Jihad!" That day, violence exploded all across Ramadi. Campbell's unit ended up with sixteen Marines killed in action and dozens wounded. In the course of the day's events, three squads were separated from each other and were taking heavy casualties during house-to-house fighting. Shortly after the fighting started, Campbell, who had just fallen asleep after a thirty-six-hour extended night patrol with his platoon, was awakened by a young Marine informing him of the situation: "You need to go rescue them!" So Campbell, sleeping with his boots still on, rolled out of bed, marshaled his men, and headed straight for the gunfire. For Campbell, it was one of his greatest tests of leadership in the midst of battle.

"When you're in that situation as a young leader, all you can think is Where are my guys? Where are the bad guys? It's so chaotic and confusing. All you can do is try to figure out where the fighting is coming from and where all your people are.

"I don't think you're ever in control of the situation, you just do your best to manage the chaos to [the] best of your ability, keep your men safe, and achieve your mission. But keeping your men safe isn't the only objective, although you hope and pray you can do that. Otherwise why would you leave the states?"

For Campbell, the difficulty of keeping his men safe was exacerbated by the nature of urban warfare. One of the most important aspects of the mission was to limit civilian casualties, an extremely difficult task given the high population density of the city. This meant limiting the weaponry that could be used against the enemy—a decision that placed his troops in danger but was a necessary component of the mission.

"We had to do the best we could to protect civilians, in addition to finding those who wanted to kill us on a daily basis, so we voluntarily limited some of the tools we could use. We never fired artillery in the city, rarely used tanks; we didn't bring to bear the heaviest weapons we could in order that we wouldn't kill people indiscriminately. So we generally fought house to house with only what we can carry on our backs."

Complicating the issue was the ever-present uncertainty of who were friends and who were enemies. Often it took restraint to hold fire.

"It doesn't matter whether you think people love you or are against you. What matters is what you have to do. You cannot shoot indiscriminately. We made the choice as young leaders to risk our own lives and our men's lives more often than not, and it was very hard to err on the side of not shooting. Often the decision to not shoot is far harder than to shoot."

But not every lesson in leadership happened amid hellacious fighting. Captain Campbell learned quickly that the smallest things make the biggest difference.

"Originally, my thinking as a leader was, I need to make big decisions well, show heroism in combat, give the occasional great speech. But I didn't realize that my men watched everything. It didn't matter what I did with larger decisions if I wasn't consistent in smaller ones."

Before shipping out to Ramadi, Campbell and his men were stationed in Kuwait on a base that had very rudimentary facilities. Marines couldn't call home very often. There were two phones, but their use was restricted—one for Marines, one for emergencies. Eventually, officers began taking liberties with the emergency phone.

"Officers were calling home every two or three days, but my guys could only call every two to three weeks. One day one of my Marines, one of the best Marines I've ever met, pulled me aside ... and said, 'We notice that you use the cell phone a lot and we don't use it as often.' I felt about six inches tall at that point."

* * *

The U.S. Marines are known the world over for their lethal capabilities in warfare. But some of Campbell's proudest moments revolve around witnessing his men's acts of mercy, at their mortal expense.

One day while on patrol, a rocket from a group of insurgents had missed its target—Campbell's platoon—and hit directly in the middle of a group of children. The carnage of so many children slaughtered was ghastly, "A macabre tableaux from hell," as Campbell described it. In spite of the attendant danger, the first reaction of the platoon was to rush to the children's aid. The unit's doctors started working feverishly to help the wounded, not even bothering to put on latex gloves. The instinct of the Marines to help the wounded, even at great harm to themselves, was in full view that day.

"My guys were phenomenal—I love them so much. There's a moment of decision when something like that happens. We could have shut all the doors and driven away, knowing that it would have gotten us out of the line of fire and preserved us all, or [we could] jump out of the Humvee, run toward the fire, and help those who need help. And we just jumped out of Humvees and starting tending the wounded. I took part of the platoon and pursued part of those who attacked us but we couldn't get them.

"When I came back I faced another decision: Do we stay and wait for Iraqis to come with [an] ambulance for the children, or do we leave? If we stayed we would be there for a while and we would get attacked again. Ten minutes in the same place you will get attacked. But I made the decision to stay there and help them."


Excerpted from The Book of Man by William J. Bennett Copyright © 2011 by William J. Bennett. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

r. William J. Bennett is one of America’s most influential and respected voices on cultural, political, and educational issues. Host of the top-ten nationally syndicated radio shows, Bill Bennett’s Morning in America, he is also the Distinguished Fellow of the American Strategy Group. He is the author and editor of more than twenty-five books, and lives near Washington, DC.

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The Book of Man: Who Are Men, What Should Men Be, What Should Men Do? 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Angela_Nic More than 1 year ago
I've read several of William Bennett's books and have several of them as a part of my personal library including, "The Book of Virtues" and "The Moral Compass". So when I saw his new book "The Book of Man" I jumped at the chance to read and review it. As in his previous books, he stories, letters, poems, etc. to illustrate and bring the life the themes of the book. It's challenging and motivating. I have greatly enjoyed it and am now passing it on to my brother so he can read it as well. The book is broken down into topics sections including: Man in War Man at Work Man in Play, Competition, and Leisure Man in the Polis Man wth Woman and Children Man in Prayer and Reflection The stories are well written and presented. I like the way that each story stands on its own and is short and easy to read. I like to read books like this a little at a time and take time to think and reflect on what I just read. Personally, I feel the world of today is so lacking in the way of values and this is one of the main reasons I like Mr. Bennett's books, as it brings back a touch of the way things used to be, with a stronger sense of morels. I can see how this book may not be appealing to all in that way, but it is something so needed. It's very nicely presented and makes a great gift book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"the book of man" is very hard to put down! william bennett shows how men and male figures can make a difference in the lifes of their familys and their communitys through the many storys and speechs of famous and not so famous male figures through out history and our united states. through this great book their are many great life lessons to be learned from the special people presented here for the first time.this book will make a great gift for someone special and will truly motivate alkot of individuels to make a difference in the lifes of others as well as their community.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recommend it. I read it even though many previous reviews were so low. Makes me wonder if they really read it or just posted based on what their own anti-Christian beliefs.
Morgie More than 1 year ago
Boys need heroes if they are to become good men . they need to know about men who have lived good and noble lives; working, staying sober, keeping their word, not taking advantage of women, and supporting their children. New York Times Best-Selling author William J. Bennett has written a big book of inspiration detailing the lives of men (both ancient and modern) who are worth knowing. And why they matter. This is an important book, one that I highly recommend to parents, grandparents, family members, and teachers and to those of us in the community who care about what we are teaching our young men. Selections are taken from literature and history; men at work and at play; men whom the author admires . imperfect men who nonetheless have lived admirable lives. Keep this book handy, read it often, and share the words within whenever possible. The Book of Man goes on my list of the top ten books I have read recently. Thank you Mr. Bennett. This book was provided by the publisher for review, my thoughts are my own.
SavvyMomma More than 1 year ago
"Book of Man" isn't really what I expected it to be, though that doesn't mean that it wasn't a good book. I expected this book to be more of a guide to the dos and don'ts to raising young men in our society today. In contrast, this book was really more of an anthology of stories about strong men. William Bennett using this book to profile influential, strong men who have had an impact on history. I think that this book offers up many potential role models for young men today - men who have shown courage, virtue, and dedication to a cause. While it doesn't offer up much advice on helping to raise young men today, it does hold a treasure trove of honorable men, with some great stories about their impact on history. I enjoyed these readings, and think that any parent would be able to appreciate the qualities that Mr. Bennett picks out of these men and presents to us. Highly recommend this one. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
SMorrison01 More than 1 year ago
As a response to the lack of leadership and true manhood in today's society William Bennett as compiled a collection of stories The Book of Man is broken down into 6 sections... Including: Man in War Man at Work Man in Play, Competition, and Leisure Man in the Polis Man wth Woman and Children Man in Prayer and Reflection The Book of Man upholds a traditional, moral and religious view of man, even though many of the selections are from men who are not specifically Christian or even religious. I would recommend this book for people that work with men and boys such as counselors, teachers, etc. I would also recommend this book for men that want to take a look at what manhood looks like throughout history and today.
Xaivier More than 1 year ago
When I see substantial "men" or "boys" are missing themselves in this highly seductive world and pursuing instant yet temporary pleasure and excitement, I believe this book will be one of the maps that guide "boys" come out from "the island of the lost world" go toward manhood. Personally, I do not think this is a magic book for you (parents or teachers) let your son to read it alone so that he will be a "man" in the future, suddenly. In fact, there is not such book in this world. This book, however, contains abundant tools (such as profiles, stories, letters, poems, essays) to assist you to guide your children to be a better men in the future. Since there are lots of examples in the book, it should not an surprise for me to disagree with few of them. Moreover, I do not think it is necessary to agree with or to practise all the characteristics stated in the book in order to be a "man". The important thing is to be inspired and then to find one or two appropriate models for practising. Lastly, I believe "women" or "girls" shall read this book as well to know what are the characteristics of "real men" are, so that they will make a better decision in choosing the right man. END (p/s: I received this book free-of-charge in exchange for my honest opinion.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PaolaSevero More than 1 year ago
This is the kind of book that you read more than once during your life and out of order. The one to stay on the shelf and every time I hit a new willingness to take in hand, flip through and read a few dozen random pages. William Bennett was able to come together dozens of articles, poems and life stories of great men on great men. About every action and every element of your life that must be correct to be a good person, so that your life has a sense of being, and that every opportunity is aproveitada.Coisas even trivial and should be obvious, but that all people should listen at least once in their lives, to make sure that they follow the right path.
Chhaya More than 1 year ago
“The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood” compiled by William J. Bennett is more than just a book. It is an education in history, patriotism, principles and above all “marketing”. I used the word marketing because one look at its exquisite hard cover, scarlet spine and the majestic design on its front cover is enough to make you want to have it in your collection! However while the beauty of most superbly jacketed volumes are only skin deep, “The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood” delivers till the last page. It is a compilation of writings that causes one to pause and consider the many facets of men and the decisions and revelations men have had throughout history. It covers a variety of spaces that men occupy from war to leisure, sports and politics. To name just a few of the many men whose lives and wisdom and examples he draws from in this book, there is: Winston Churchill, Colin Powell, Alexander the Great, William the Conqueror, Benjamin Franklin, Theodore Roosevelt, Robert Louis Stevenson. In short every selection is meant to teach a different attribute of manhood.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought Bill Bennett’s TheBook of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood at the beginning of the year when I resolved to read 12 books, one for each year. Well, 3 months later I’m 300 pages into this 900 page behemoth, but I’m enjoying it. Those of you who listen to his show or have heard him speak know jovial and optimistic he is-a true happy warrior. His books are always interesting and inspiring. He looks at man at war, work, play, in the polis, and with women and children. In war men exhibit the virtue of “sacrificing one’s self for liberty, happiness, and the state.” In productive labor he finds what’s necessary for the good life. In leisure men still exercise perseverance and determination but through activities that bring pleasure. In each of these sections Bennett takes examples from a variety of sources including poetry, novels, biographies, stories he heard on his radio show, and even the Bible. The anecdotes explore the multi-faceted nature of the different categories of life and provide a unique lesson in each story. Bennett is a philosopher who believes in the importance of virtue and you can sense that from his writing. Manhood is nothing without virtue. There is nothing inevitable about becoming a man. It is more than just being a male. It is a moral pursuit in which you build character in every part of life. A man recognizes his responsibilities and lives up to his obligations, pursues excellence in everything he does, stands up for what is right, protects the defenseless, loves his family and country, and sets an example, among other things. You’ll find yourself simultaneously aware of what you lack and inspired to develop the character traits that are put on display in the book. There isn’t a man for whom this book wouldn’t be informative and inspiring. Young men, in particular, need to read this book so that they know that these qualities of manhood are not quaint notions of a bygone era. They are relevant for today, especially in these postmodern times full of indifference and cynicism. I believe we've been getting an important lesson in what a difference it makes what kind of men we have leading our country and if more men pursuing the kind of virtue Bennett writes about then there is reason to hope for the future of our nation.
mryoda More than 1 year ago
Some of these reviews here are so blatantly biased and many even got the book free from the publisher. This is a compilation about men. I don't believe Bennett argues these men should all be heroes - and I think the genius of the book is he let's us decide the things we should share, as fathers, with our children (and boys). Apparently, some of you got frustrated because you tried to read the book cover to cover. It is not meant to be read this way. The book is about great STRUGGLE which occurs in manhood and if we do not teach our men coming of age about struggle and solid decision making, then, some of them will turn out like some of these characters. I agree with some reviewers that the author throws out some stats without an in depth search of why these things may be true, but I don't think that is his intention. He wants us to THINK about why they may be true. This book may have a mixed message for some, may be unchristian to others, BUT THERE ARE STILL LESSONS HERE!!!!!!!!! Especially for people willing to seek them instead of just be critical of the text.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
William Bennett compiled a collection of writings about man and war; work; play, sports and leisure; in the polis; with woman and children; and in prayer and reflection. In order to enjoy this book, you absolutely must enjoy reading a variety of authors in praise of each of these areas. Most of the authors are very well known; some of the most interesting articles are by writers who are more obscure. Without doubt, some of the pieces included are some of the most eloquent ever written. Almost without exception, the authors are men, so this is really a book about men by men. Reading article after article about man and war, for example, can be a little daunting after a while. I doubt that this anthology is meant to be read cover to cover, but it is a fine resource of writings by men about men. It is thorough and well presented. I received this book for free in exchange for my unbiased review through the Thomas Nelson BookSneeze Program.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The world really needs more books like this . I have enjoyed reading this book greatly. I also recommend THE BOOK OF VIRTUES by the same author.
peanutandpepers More than 1 year ago
The Book of Man By: William J. Bennet (Author of: The Book of Virtues) I was a little skeptical of this book…well mainly because it was called The Book of Man. But I was in for a surprise! Even though it is centered on men, it is positively wonderful reading. This book is filled to the brim with short essays, profiles, speeches and poems. I enjoyed them all. I believe my favorite parts were the Profiles. They were about different men doing their duty in the job force and at home. Basically short biographies! Some of the men were: Alvin York, Red Falvey, Coach Ken, etc. I found out about many new heroes that I never even knew existed! All the profiles were very interesting, and I found myself wanting to know more about the person they were written about. On the other hand, this book is rather large and if you are not an advanced reader you may find that it becomes monotonous! I therefore recommend this book for 13+. But if you enjoy reading *it is a couple thousand pages long* Go for it! I also will recommend that you read it in segments. Thank you for reading my review * And don’t forget*, reading is healthy for you!
nchokkan More than 1 year ago
This big fat book is a superb encyclopedia for boys (and men). It covers various expectations that this society (at least the past few generations) has with them and what can be done to meet those expectations. In many ways this book is something like 'Chicken soup for men'. It gives story after story about real people, fictional characters, poems, speeches and more, trying to answer one simple quetion "What makes a man?" New York Times Best Selling Author William Bennett starts with a very interesting article which proves that boys today are clueless about what they are supposed to do (or not supposed to do) when the grow up. Due to various reasons, William Bennett feels they don't get enough guidance on this topic and become confused young men and suggests this book as a reference reading giving them pointers about some great men. This book is devided into 6 major sections: Mam in War, Man at Work, Man in Play, Sports and Leisure, Man in the Polis, Man with Woman and Children, Man in Prayer and Reflection. Each section provides around 100 pages of reading material, all of them short and sweet. Means, you can open this book in any page and start reading. Articles are coming from ancient world to the modern, giving a really great reading experience even for grownups. Hoping to see a similar book for girls (and women) soon!
Kate-L-B More than 1 year ago
Do you have a son, nephew, or young boy in your life that you want to bring direction to? Do you, as a woman, want to know what defines the ideal manhood? Then ‘The Book of Man’ by William J. Bennett is a book I highly recommend for you. How do you raise a boy to become a man who a woman will look up to, or other men will respect? While this book isn’t a how-to book, it gives a variety of examples taken from many different sources, showing examples of what a man should be. Divided into six sections that deal with how a man should carry himself in life, through war, love, living amongst people, working, raising children, reflection and prayer, and at his leisure. Examples that range from accounts of military heroes, the Bible, literary figures, poetry, and famous speeches. In today’s world, many women are coming up frustrated by not having what is defined as a real man, be available. This is a great book for women to read to have examples of what a good man is. This is also a great book for parents to either read for themselves, or to read to their children. As most of the essays and sections are short, an evening discussion with growing boys, and an explanation of the content could be used as a helpful tool in rearing boys into manhood. William ‘Bill’ Bennett has done an excellent job in compiling different stories from various sources. I was quite surprised to read excerpts from Shakespeare, the Bible, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Jack London, Lord Byron, and other famous poets. Similarly, the Navy SEAL Creed, a speech by Colin Powell, Winston Churchill and even Sir Walter Raleigh, were included. The plethora of people showcased in this book is quite amazing in itself. I recommend it to everyone as just as a companion book of great speeches and essays, it’s an enjoyable read. And I can honestly say I love this book and plan to keep it on my shelf for years. Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of The Book of Man through Book Sneeze, in exchange for my honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a great read from many perspectives. It seems that so many on here rant and rave and probably did not read the book. If you are a liberal, drug loving, free love, zero responsibility, kind of person - you will hate this book. If you are a fan of class, decency, responsibility, honesty, hard work and love of your fellow man - you will love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The writer below me asked this question - What's wrong with using Jesus, the apostles, or the forefathers? I will give you an answer to that. As much as you hate it, not everyone in America is Christian. I want factual role models for my kids. I do believe you left two reviews.
JoyForChrist More than 1 year ago
This book is supposed to be about finding men for our sons to look up to as heroes. As Christians, even the idea of suggesting our sons have heroes might make us balk - we aren't really into encouraging our sons to idolize sinful men. But let's just say, you were going to pick 5 or 20 or 50 men to hold up as good examples of strong morals and strong character. If that is the goal of this book, it failed SERIOUSLY. I don't think many of us would ever advise our sons to idolize any man and especially not the ones Bennett picked for his book: past presidents, politicians, athletes, rulers/murderers, etc. I think Bennett's goal was to find some famous men from history (some old and dead, some still alive) and display for us their thoughts and prayers. For this, Bennett could have picked ANYONE in all of history. Maybe his point is not so much that the men he picked are known for great character, but that all men can show thoughfulness from time to time or at least at some point in their lives. So Bennett focuses on showing us prayers from these men's lives. I just felt this book is SO UNCHRISTIAN. Half these heroes are unchristian, some pagan-worshipping, money-cheating, sleezebags! Why would we want to hear about their prayers? Ugh! How can this pass for a Christian book? This is more of a worship/idolize/make heroes of your politicians/government/rulers kind of book. This book is also very pro-republican, so democrats will hate it. Bennett puts up around 5 republicans as heroes and no democrats. This book is HUGE! So thick and so large - larger than your Bible by far! This book is for sure for the adult. And not at all made for our sons - they would have zero interest in reading it. It is long and SOOO BORING! I had to force myself through the pages. Luckily, the prayers/thoughts are short as Bennett rushes through like 500+ men's prayers and thoughts! I kept wanting to put it down and go read something else. I didn't care about these men! I don't want to know George Bush Jr's scripted prayer for the departed! I don't want to read it! He didn't write it anyway! I don't want to read his father George Bush Sr's prayer at his inaugural address either! I don't want to know what pagan-god-worshipping Alexander the Great did! I don't care about Plato's view on life! I don't want to read about their lives! Especially the sleezy politicians! Or the murderous historians! Or the jocks/athletes! Ugh! And the worst part, I truly did NOT find values, morals or good character in almost ANY of these prayers/thoughts. They added nothing to my life but wasted time reading painful thoughts. Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher for this unbiased review. I am giving my honest review, as positive reviews are not required.
poohbeargirl More than 1 year ago
This book is about the character of men and how our kids/sons/boys need men with strong characters as role models. Bennett believes these boys need to model themselves after real life "heroes". The hope of this book is that people can use this book to turn boys into men of strong character - a worthy goal. The subject of the book sounds interesting, especially considering Bennett is the author of a famous book called the "Book of Virtues". The biggest problem I have with this book is that Bennett chooses real life public figures, like Presidents of the United States, politicians, military personnel, athletes and many other famous men. When picking ideal "heroes or idols" for my son, these are the guys who would be at the BOTTOM of my "hero" list. These are the most money hungry, dishonest, sleezebags in society. Sure some of them show SOME bits of character from time to time - but then so does everyone, even criminals in jail! Why should we ever encourage our kids to idolize these public figures? Their OVERALL character (in general) are terrible! And some/most are not even Christian! I don't get this book at all. Very disappointing. Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge from the publisher but I am giving my honest review.
mirandi More than 1 year ago
This book is supposed to be about "What it means to be a man" by giving examples of men for our boys to look up to as heroes. The author gives us about 500 different stories of men from ancient history to modern day politicians, athletes, celebrities, etc. He says, these men present an ideal of manhood. He tells us that our boys should follow these examples of "real men" and learn how they should live and the things to which our boys should aspire. The author lists these men as examples worth emulating - as heroes to be honored by our boys. I was SICK and DISGUSTED when I read the list of men William Bennet holds up as heroes. What is Bennett's standard for picking these men as heroes? "Every community, even Sodom and Gomorrah, has one individual in it who might be identified as worth admiring." No wonder this author picked non-Christians and unethical men to represent the "heroes" in this book. This is the LAST book anyone should hold up as an example for their sons. Bennett's heroes include Shakespeare, Colin Powell, Alexander the Great, Winston Churchill, Navy Seal Creed, William the Conqueror, Ronald Regan, Plato, Homer, Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Thomas Carlyle, "Pistol" Pete Maravich, A.G. Spalding, Leo Tolstoy, Buster Douglas, Davy Crockett, Aristotle, John Locke, John F. Kennedy, Charles Dickens, Robert Morris (current day pentecostal megachurch pastor), Abraham Lincoln, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, George H. W. Bush, George Washington, and more. I found much of what the author had to say as mindless ramblings, lacking logic and any conclusive purpose. Example: The author starts the introduction by giving us a statistic: "In 1954, 90% of American men worked. Today, that number is 80%". Instead of considering the many possibilities for this decline, such as unemployment, immigration, retirement, and other factors; the author immediately jumps to the conclusion this decline is due to laziness and men leaching off the government. While laziness is certainly a factor, the author doesn't even consider that it might not be the only factor. He portrays this as a direct correlation. Next, Bennett takes an even bigger leap - "In 1970, 80% of men 25-29 were marriaged, but in 2007, only 40%". He immediately blames what he calls a decline in marriage on the fact that there are too many aimless men! When we all know that men and women are getting married later and later in life these days due to educational and career-oriented goals! This author is SOOOO far off base, it's ridiculous! I feel like this author misses the point time after time. I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for this review but I did really give my honest opinion