Manhood in America: A Cultural History / Edition 3

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For more than three decades, the women's movement and its scholars have exhaustively studied women's complex history, roles, and struggles. In Manhood in America, Third Edition, author Michael Kimmel argues that it is time for men to rediscover their own evolution. Drawing on a myriad of sources,he demonstrates that American men have been eternally frustrated by their efforts to keep up with constantly changing standards. Kimmel contends that men must follow the lead of the women's movement; it is only by mining their past for its best qualities and worst excesses that men will free themselves from the constraints of the masculine ideal.

The third edition discusses such timely topics as post-9/11 politics, "self-made" masculinities (including those of Internet entrepreneurs), presidential campaigns, and gender politics. It also covers contemporary debates about fatherlessness, the biology of male aggression, and pop psychologists like John Gray and Dr. Laura. Outlining the various ways in which manhood has been constructed and portrayed in America, this engaging history is ideal as a main text for courses on masculinity or as a supplementary text for courses in gender studies and cultural history.

In this authoritative and entertaining history of men in America, Kimmel demonstrates that manliness was originally an internal value, but by the 1890's, it had changed to masculinity, something that had to be constantly proven. Long after the temporary fancies of men's movements have passed, this definitive history will provoke, entertain and inform men and women alike. Photos.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
I think this book is of continuing importance and relevance. Pioneering when it first appeared, it has inspired many to look further into many of the topics it explores and continues to be essential reading for anyone seeking a grounding in the field. I am always amazed to see new studies emerge that are, in many respects, further elaborations of astute observations Kimmel made years agoEL I cannot imagine a course on American masculinities that did not assign Manhood in America as required reading. It's that essential. -Christopher Forth, University of Kansas

I am quite loyal to this book-it is accessible to undergraduate students but is not simplified at the expense of key concepts and historical change. I have not been able to find a book that does what Manhood in America does in such a clear and compelling fashion. -Dennis Deslippe, Franklin and Marshall College

It's comprehensive without being pedantic. One of the thing that makes it so appealing is the way culture, politics, history, the arts, etc., are brought into the discussion. [I mean, the subtitle is "A cultural history," but the integration feels natural, and the argument does build up, layer by layer, in each of these cultural domains. The size of it makes it a whole lot less intimidating to undergrads than the (hardback) 1st editionEL. I feel like a Mormon missionary: having spent a couple years out convincing folks that theirs is the true religion, they're supposed to be stronger in their faith than before their mission. After writing about this book, I'm excited at the possibility of putting it to use in the classroom. —Mark Riddle, University of Northern Colorado

The writing style is superb. It is 'wonderfully readable,' meaning that it is crisp, clear, written in an interesting and engaging way, and often quite wittyELA highly readable and illuminating cultural history and meditation on the notion of self-made manhood and its impact on the construction of American masculinity over the past 200 years. -Nelson Rodriguez, the College of New Jersey

A new edition would obviously need to be updated with recent historical events, specifically the 2008 electionELAlso, I think an updated version would need to take seriously how global politics, recent immigration issues, and the current recession are shaping manhood in AmericaELThe text serves as a perfect teaching tool for relaying how masculinities are socially and historically constructed. I use this text at the beginning of each semester of my Masculinities seminar and constantly refer back to it. -Dana Berkowitz, Louisiana State University

The approach is a thorough and complex cultural exploration of white, heterosexual, Christian, middle class masculinity. The book is fabulous, brilliant and much needed. I just think we need more about the 'othered' masculinities or more of an acknowledgement of the privilege and specificity associated with 'American masculinity. -Ami Lynch, George Washington University

"Manhood in America is a much needed exploration into that vast and neglected territory: the history of the American man. Michael Kimmel's meticulous research delves into everything from military psychiatric reports to Victorian boys' advice manuals, and surfaces with a thought-provoking and original account of American manhood's troubled stumbling path into modern times."—Susan Faludi, author of Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women

"Pioneering when it first appeared, this book has inspired many to look further into the topics it explores and continues to be essential reading for anyone seeking a grounding in the field. I am always amazed to see new studies emerge that are, in many respects, further elaborations of astute observations Kimmel made years ago.EL I cannot imagine a course on American masculinities that did not assign Manhood in America as required reading. It's that essential."—Christopher Forth, University of Kansas

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a startling, original study, Kimmel, a professor of sociology at the State University of New York, makes a persuasive case that manhood has been a constantly changing social construct in American culture. Once rooted in genteel land-ownership or in the pride of independent artisans, shopkeepers and farmers, manhood was transformed by the industrial revolution, which made American males, by the mid-19th century, insecure, mobile, competitive, chronically restive and seeking a sense of themselves as men through their economic success. Men attempted to prove their manliness through sports, business, bodybuilding, clothes, fraternal organizations, participation in two world wars and the Depression (``emasculating both at work and at home''). In 1936, Lewis Terman, inventor of the IQ test, introduced a sexist ``M-F scale'' that supposedly measured children's masculinity and femininity and their likelihood of ``successfully'' acquiring gender identity. Men today, observes Kimmel, spout angry antifeminist rhetoric in men's rights groups, or beat a defensive retreat via the men's movement's embrace of cosmic archetypes. Drawing on a wealth of material-advice manuals, union struggles, the symbolism of presidential campaigns, Tocqueville, Thoreau, contemporary films, novels and men's magazines-Kimmel's humane, pathbreaking study points the way toward a redefinition of manhood that combines strength with nurturing, personal accountability, compassion and egalitarianism. Photos. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Kimmel, a noted men's studies authority, coeditor of Against the Tide (LJ 2/1/92), and editor of The Politics of Manhood, reviewed below, presents in his own words the first cultural history of men in America. He examines how the manhood experience has not only defined American males but has also shaped the culture and livelihood of its members. Kimmel states the key driving force in men throughout history has been to prove their masculinity. He examines how this phenomenon has changed over time along with the masculine ideal and other transfigurations that must coexist with it. Holding up the model of the "self-made man" of American myth and legend for analysis, Kimmel describes the legend's birth prior to the Civil War and its lasting impact until the close of the 19th century. As the new millennium approaches, the author contemplates the contemporary crisis of masculinity. A core title for men's studies and gender studies collections alike.-Michael A. Lutes, Univ. of Notre Dame Lib., Ind.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199781553
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/4/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 448,453
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Kimmel is Professor of Sociology at Stony Brook University, State University of New York. A leading researcher and writer on gender and men and masculinity, he is the author of numerous books and articles, including The Gendered Society, Fourth Edition (OUP, 2010), The Gendered Society Reader, Fourth Edition (with Amy Aronson, OUP, 2010), and Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men (2009).

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Table of Contents

1. The Birth of the Self-Mad Man
2. Born to Run: Self-Control and Fantasies of Escape
3. Men at Work: Captains of Industry, White Collars, and the Faceless Crowd
4. Playing for Keeps: Masculinity as Recreation and the Re-Creation of Masculinity
5. A Room of His Own: Socializing the New Man
6. Muscles, Money and the M-F Test: Measuring Masculinity Between the Wars
7. "Temporary About Myself": White-Collar Conformists and Suburban Playboys, 1945-1960
8. The Masculine Mystique
9. Wimps, Whiners, and Weekend Warriors: The Contemporary Crisis of Masculinity and Beyond
10. From Anxiety to Anger Since the 1990s: The "Self-Made Man" Becomes "Angry White Man"
Epilogue: Masculinity in the Age of Obama

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