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Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men
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Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  1,182 Ratings  ·  173 Reviews

The passage from adolescence to adulthood was once clear. Today, growing up has become more complex and confusing, as young men drift casually through college and beyondâ”hanging out, partying, playing with tech toys, watching sports. But beneath the appearance of a simple extended boyhood, a more dangerous social world has developed, far away from the traditional signpost

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Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 26th 2008 by Harper
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Whitney Atkinson
Oct 11, 2016 Whitney Atkinson rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, for-class
This book was mediocre, mostly just because I already know that college-aged straight white dudes are generally the worst. Nothing was particularly bad about this book, but nothing was extremely impressing either. If anything, I'm just more disturbed and angry at the white guy culture, and I wish this book touched more on how girls can help other than being a mother and teaching future generations to do better. (Which isn't happening because haha. Me with kids? nah.)
Tiny Pants
Jul 02, 2011 Tiny Pants rated it it was ok
I don't want to out and out trash this book, because there are glimmers of brilliance in it. Unfortunately, most of those insights last all of a paragraph, and then we're back with the meat of the book, which I would describe most uncharitably as: A rehash of arguments from Manhood in America and The Gendered Society dumbed-down and cuted-up to a "this'd better get me on the Today Show level." Sorry, but no one is going to start calling a life stage "Guyland," no matter how many times you diss J ...more
Elevate Difference
Jan 10, 2009 Elevate Difference rated it really liked it
Guyland is less of a place than an attitude, a realm of existence. Occupied by young, single, white men, its main demographic is middle class kids who are college-bound, college co-eds, or recent graduates in the United States. They live in communal housing with fraternity brothers or other recent grads. They work entry-level jobs but act aimless. They have plenty of time to party like they did in college and subsist on pizza, beer, and a visual diet of cartoons, sports, and porn. They hook up w ...more
James
May 10, 2009 James rated it really liked it
I wanted to give this 5 stars but ultimately did not because his case studies and examples are a little too narrow. He makes a good case using statistics that the culture of fraternities filled with white men is overwhelmingly toxic on many college campuses. He then asserts that similar problems exist with other white men of the same age who didn't go to college but provides little evidence for it. So I really liked what he says, and it rings true to me from my own experience, but I think the ev ...more
Nicola
May 01, 2009 Nicola rated it really liked it
The traditional markers of reaching manhood have long ago been eroded: most males are in their late-twenties/early-thirties before they have a “real” job, a marriage, kids or their own home. Michael Kimmel examines the wasteland that exists after adolescence, where males are not men, just “guys”.

These 18-25-year-old guys tend to be overeducated but underemployed, with a sense of entitlement that does not align with the privilege that they don’t receive. “Hooking up” with girls is just another sp
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Katie
Mar 02, 2010 Katie rated it it was ok
Couldn't finish this. It's an important topic, but this treatment is marred by a far too narrow focus (upper middle class spoiled white boys) and Kimmel's completely obnoxious writing style. The whole thing could boil easily down to "stop raising your kids like they are owed the world, elite people!" but Kimmel is quick to exculpate individuals ("this isn't about bad parenting!" he says regarding boys who...rape and assault; "these aren't a bunch of raving psychotics!" he assures us regarding bo ...more
lp
Oct 09, 2008 lp rated it it was ok
I read that this book was like a male version of "Reviving Ophelia", and it was not, which was disappointing. Kimmel sort of writes about guyland as if he has never met a guy before in his life? Maybe he just treats the subject too sociolog-ey. "Watch as the interesting creatures submit to the barbaric ritual they refer to as 'POWER. HOUR.'" (I'm paraphrasing.) Or maybe it's because I went to a frat heavy college, so I wasn't surprised to hear about POWER. HOUR and KEG. STANDS. And since I'm a g ...more
Jack Donovan
In Guyland, Kimmel describes and analyzes young American males with all the civilized horror of an eighteenth century missionary reporting on the customs and activities of naked heathen cannibals. These savages, born innocent and full of childish wonder, learn early to fear the scorn of their male peers and become so desperate for male approval that they will engage in bizarre and often criminal behavior. Enter “Guyland,” a human terrain inhabited by young men that Kimmel maps only by the most e ...more
Denis
Feb 10, 2010 Denis rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
Being the demographic about whom Kimmel is writing (except not heterosexual), I felt I needed to read this. Feeling the listlessness and aimlessness he ascribes to males 16-26 who graduate college fit me quite well.

Unfortunately, I did not connect to the text as I thought, as being gay, this was a world I did not live in, and being a feminist already, many of the arguments were ones I'd read elsewhere, for a different audience, and with different intents.

The style with which Kimmel writes about
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Robert Rosenthal
Aug 17, 2014 Robert Rosenthal rated it it was amazing
Well-written, well-researched. Not what everyone wants to hear, but so what? Truth can be tough, and sometimes challenging. As a psychotherapist dealing with couples' issues, Guyland helps explain why so many men today have so much trouble identifying what they're feeling and skillfully expressing it in an intimate partnership.
Adena
Apr 22, 2009 Adena rated it really liked it
This was an interesting look at how in our society, boys stay boys for much longer than is healthy, and how their rituals and group behaviors are detrimental to true manhood and society. Very interesting.
Carolyn Fitzpatrick
Jul 09, 2016 Carolyn Fitzpatrick rated it really liked it
Shelves: sociology
This has been on my list for a while and it did not disappoint. The author's goal is to explain the bro culture that young men find themselves immersed in from roughly ages 15-25, with lingering effects afterward. This culture promotes "real men" as violent, sexually competitive, and hedonistic, while also justifying a prolonged childhood of staying unattached and avoiding responsibilities or self-improvement. The culture of "Guyland" is driven mostly by white, middle class, straight guys. Men w ...more
Amy
Jan 15, 2015 Amy rated it liked it
Recommended to Amy by: Chantel
I am giving this 3 instead of 4 stars due to it being about the U.S, where I am not. Therefore I feel like there are gaps in information.

I was worried going into this as my friend said there was difficult material. That is an understatement.

At the beginning of reading I did not hold high hopes as the author seemed to be focusing on how hard "guys" lives are and seemed to be blaming it on their fathers. It's currently 2015 and the economic situation is crappy for everyone, including young people
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Mike
Nov 02, 2008 Mike rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Parents, or those interested in our future.
I suppose most perceptive people of really all generations can tell you that kids aren't the same today that they were years ago. Whether or not there's disgust, jealousy or a disapproving head shake probably depends upon what generation you find yourself. Then again, every generation can and will say that about the ones that follow.

To say that there are men today in their twenties and thirties who refuse to grow up is indeed an understatement. But then again, you might not see it as such depend
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Zach
Jul 06, 2011 Zach rated it really liked it
Guyland is an observation of the "macho" culture that pervades high school and college. It's written in a very anecdotal voice, which is accessible, though it leads Kimmel to paint in sometimes too-broad strokes. The book's message is one of male privilege and power, how that power perpetuates itself, and the fact that many males are uncomfortable with such, even though they perform such actions because it's how they "should" be.

For me, this book put into words everything I found so disgusting a
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Liz
This was another book that I read for my intro to women's and gender studies class and on the whole, I really enjoyed it. This book is all about the world that white, upper-middle class American boys grow up in. I think that this is a particularly important book for college students and parents.

Kimmel's writing is not overly dense, but he definitely still sounds intelligent and this book is still very well researched on the whole. It's hard to write a review of this book, because it's a book one
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Chris
Oct 21, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reporting, feminist
I haven't read Kimmel's other works, so I don't know if the reviews that state this is somewhat a rehash are correct.

That said the best review I can give is - Well, it explains much. I will also point out that this review says it best.
Suzanne Stockinger Minard
I found that this book stated what seems to be obvious in American culture. All but the last chapter paints a discouraging and rather hopeless picture of American youth and young adult culture. The author at times says not all people are this way, but provide no antidotes about how other people live causing one to believe that nearly all people in our society behave this way. Not until the last chapter does the author suggest any positive ways to address this trend. Are we merely to accept this ...more
Arda
Sep 21, 2016 Arda rated it liked it
This book provides valuable insight about the socioeconomic conditions that dictate the behavior of predominantly white, straight, young [ages 16-26] men and women in the United States. Kimmel explores what he refers to as the culture of entitlement; examining the reluctance of college boys to grow up and take responsibility for their lives, particularly with regard to their relationships with women.

Feeling overwhelmed by the hard times and the massive duties that would follow from shifting gea
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Andrew
Dec 11, 2016 Andrew rated it liked it
Informative and thought-provoking, but I think the author tried too hard at times to sound 'hip.' As a high school teacher, Scoutmaster, and father to a teenage boy, there were some takeaways that I plan to use in my sphere of influence.
Sara
May 05, 2012 Sara rated it really liked it
This particular book is a precursor to some which I have recently reviewed, in particular, it laid the groundwork for Kay Hymowitz’s “Manning Up,” and was also referenced in Whitmore’s “Why Boys Fail.” The book is prefaced with a poem harshly criticizing America’s “boys will be boys” attitude towards the irresponsible, reckless, violent, and even criminal ways that many boys express themselves throughout adolescence and carried over into early manhood. The author begins by looking at a number of ...more
Corey Wrenn
Jul 27, 2016 Corey Wrenn rated it really liked it
This book explores the very privileged world of college age white men in America; a group with so much privilege that they generally go invisible in the discourse of gender studies. Kimmel explains this privilege and how boys and men navigate the world with a concept he calls, the "Guy Code," comprised of a number of gender rules imposed on boys and men (and policed by one another).

The book is based on hundreds of interviews, but it reads more journalistic. For instance, it sometimes appears to
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Jordan
Oct 04, 2016 Jordan rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology, sociology
A bit outdated in terms of terminology, but has a lot of helpful material and data in it.
Wendy White
May 24, 2015 Wendy White rated it really liked it
To people considering reading the book: a few points worth noting as I can see from reviews that a lot of people went in with very different expectations:

- This book was published in 2008 and some of the research used (interviews with students etc) is from 2005. So take some of the stats with a grain of salt.

- This book's focus is on the performance of masculinity that is typically performed by young white middle-class American men.

The author does not state anywhere that there are not masculini
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Jessica
Apr 21, 2013 Jessica rated it liked it
I liked this book quite a lot. I think it is both useful and necessary. In light of that, I think that it could have been better than it was. It could have stretched itself.

There were also some things that I found to be problematic. For example, Kimmel asserts that all girls' hazing serves to uphold the male hierarchy, with the implication that it all involves such things as performing mock fellatio on a boy while ignoring the fact that girls have their own separate Girlland as much as guys hav
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Chris
Apr 10, 2010 Chris rated it did not like it
How do I describe the mixed feelings I had about this book?

On the one hand, Michael Kimmel takes on some questions that need be answered. Why are young men waiting longer to settle down, get married, and become responsible adults? How do we explain and understand the culture of "hooking up" that has transplanted dating in college-aged youth? What can we do to help boys make the transition to manhood in a culture that offers few positive definitions of what this transition even means? Kimmel del
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Katherine
Aug 23, 2012 Katherine rated it liked it
Shelves: grrrlpower
OK, i agree that this is predominately a "sociology for the masses" book, along the lines of "pledged." nothing wrong with that at all, except for the fact that this study gives us over 250 pages of really disturbing and frankly just sad data and then provides a disproportionate seven pages of "what we can do to help our men." i recognize that this is not a behavioral workbook or a self-help book, but still, after reading so much disheartening and upsetting material, i'd like to have at least a ...more
Tyler
Oct 17, 2010 Tyler rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Middle Class Conservative Parents
Shelves: non-fiction
Guyland implies a discussion of American males ages 16-26 or 27, but the book is actually much more narrowly focused. Its main concern is the subset of that group we think of as frat boys. It has little to add on the subject, so I wasn't as impressed as the reviews led me to expect.

Some surprises do emerge from this focus on white, middle class college fraternity males. First was the extent of their susceptibility to conformity and groupthink, and second, the depth of out-and-out rage inculcated
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Andrew
Sep 10, 2015 Andrew rated it it was ok
This book probably deserves a higher rating than I'm giving it, but since it fell so short of my expectations I can't bring myself to rate it any higher. Apologies for any inaccuracies since I'm writing this so long after reading it.

Guyland's main focus is the extended adolescence that the men of today are susceptible to; or rather a very specific subset of predominantly upper-class, college-bound, white, heterosexual men. Beyond the issues arising from the narrow demographic Guyland presents, I
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Jamie
Aug 23, 2010 Jamie rated it liked it
I finally read this book, and it's been sticking in my mind. Right now I'm listening to an NPR broadcast about 20-somethings and "growing up", and I keep thinking of a bunch of random anecdotes and facts that I read in this book. It's a relatively quick read -- 3 or 4 days of a couple hours at a time.

Whenever there's a book trying to deal with a certain group of people, I get a little concerned about stereotyping. This book is about a certain kind of guy -- white, American, heterosexual, middle
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MMKC Book Review 1 13 Jan 27, 2010 10:11AM  
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Michael Scott Kimmel is an American sociologist, specializing in gender studies. He is among the leading researchers and writers on men and masculinity in the world today. The author or editor of more than twenty volumes, his books include The Politics of Manhood, and The History of Men (2005).

His documentary history, "Against the Tide: Pro-Feminist Men in the United States, 1776-1990" (Beacon, 19
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More about Michael S. Kimmel...

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“Single parents - both women and men - can play as critical a role as the traditional two-parent family, and gay and lesbian parents can, and do, raise happy, resilient children. When it comes to family life, form is not merely as important as content. Feeling loved and supported, nurtured and safe, is far more critical than the 'package' it comes in.” 30 likes
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