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Manliness

3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  127 ratings  ·  24 reviews
This book invites—no, demands—a response from its readers. It is impossible not to be drawn in to the provocative (often contentious) discussion that Harvey Mansfield sets before us. This is the first comprehensive study of manliness, a quality both bad and good, mostly male, often intolerant, irrational, and ambitious. Our “gender-neutral society” does not like it but can ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 11th 2006 by Yale University Press (first published 2006)
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Brian Adams-THies
Jul 13, 2008 Brian Adams-THies rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to be pissed off!
Shelves: general
This book is incredibly forthright in its gender bias. Mansfield has obviously been endowed by Harvard University to spew their usually conservative and elitist trash. He claims to be aware of gender studies and responding to that body of knowledge but he never truly engages any of the current theory or even ethnographic research. He ignores sexuality completely; he essentializes gender into two very specific and dichotomous categories; and he appears to celebrate/long for the "manly man" exista ...more
David
Manliness, by the amusingly-named Harvey Mansfield, is not a self-discovery book, although it's shelved with them. Mansfield's thesis is that not much effort has been put into defining and characterizing manliness - both the positive and negative aspects of it. His approach passes the sniff test with regard to the inherent contradictions in the gender-neutral society, and several chapters are spent in a philosophical review of the philosophical underpinnings of feminism and its development. In t ...more
Kang
There are many ways to describe my problems with Mansfield's book, but the the most illustrative is to say that Mansfield's treatment of sex differences and by extension his treatment of nature is Hobbesian rather than Platonic. Mansfield constantly says things such as, "[women] are not as manly or as often manly as men" and then uses such observations as the basis for natural sex differences. This mode of argumentation was pioneered by Hobbes, who said that by nature fear of violent death is th ...more
Hom Sack
This is one of the most boring books I've read. I wish I had quit after the first 50 pages. The author was needlessly long winded, wordy, and obtuse. It drones on and on, uselessly banal, like a student tasked with writing a term paper that requires a minimal number of pages but only has enough material to fill a miniscule amount.

The front inside book cover challenges: "This book invites—no, demands—a response from its readers." What manly man would not respond? The book is not at all a "wide-ra
...more
David
I think the most interesting sentence was the last, "A free society cannot survive if we are so free that nothing is expected of us." I was hoping for a more clear definition of manliness. I left feeling that the author boils it down to assertiveness. Certainly that is an important part of manliness. I find myself following up on feminism. Is the radical feminism merely having women act like men? I'm not so sure. Certainly women sought to act more like men to move away from a passivity which see ...more
Danny
Mansfield presents a number of historical examples that reveal the social and psychological costs of second wave feminism, like how the rights and privileges of men have become divorced from the responsibilities of men, and how that has hurt men, women, and children. It's a dense read and really too academic to be completely useful to the lay-reader. I'm looking out for a book that can apply these ideas to more contemporary examples. I think that would be more compelling, and more helpful to men ...more
Mike Horne
Not as good as I hoped. Though I consider myself a Straussian (though I don't know what that means), and though I agree with much of what he says (though I don't know much about feminism)--I'd as soon read Allan Bloom. Mansfield's writing did not grip me (I am working on his translation of Tocqueville--that is heavy going too). Of course, I do have a series of trading cards called "Michael's Unmanly Traits Trading Cards" so what do I know.
Steven Wedgeworth
Some interesting things. Some incomplete things. Some things a tad bit boring. The book has to be applauded for affirming the reality of gender distinctions and identifying "manliness" as a real thing that must be accounted for. At the same time, I'm not sure the author quite gets at true manliness, instead only highlighting partial manliness or reactive manliness.
Shad
Mansfield brings up a lot of good points and offers a reading of numerous classics I had not really considered, at least not consciously. Ultimately, I think he recognized the problem but comes up short of teh solution, yielding to modern society rather than accepting the ends to which his arguments led.
Rita
I kept having to check the publishing date, so much of it seemed a few decades out of time. Yet it was published in 2006. His references, his commentary all speak of an earlier time. I stopped reading after the third chapter. Not worth my time to read this pointless, outdated book. Published in 2006!
Jonathan
You could really just read the first and the last chapter. An interesting brief run-through of Western philosophy and feminist theory concerning gender. Doesn't really give a solution on how to restore 'manliness' other than what the Greeks say: "Always in moderation".
Hubert
Somewhat difficult to parse through; Mansfield is a brilliant thinker if at times inconsistent. His insistence on the idea of 'manliness' will irk many, but his gendered readings and projections of literary and philosophical figures and ideas aim to inspire.
Clivemichael
Polemic monologue. An academic/philosopher's take on the then "current" gender definitions/roles. Somewhat acerbic and occasionally brilliant observations on being manly. I read this book years ago, some of it's "flavour" has stayed with me. Not for everyone.
miguel
Nov 04, 2007 miguel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Jamie
Jamie won't let me read this book. But it's fine; this book is so great that it surpasses mere words and actual "reading." Yeah, I know, it's that good. If I could give this book six stars, I would.
Zach
May 18, 2010 Zach added it
A great work of political philosophy, and something of a polemic against modern feminism. Mansfield's intellectual history of feminism suffices as a critique of feminism, res ipsa loquitur.
Josh Rogers
Most will dismiss it without a careful reading. Mansfield is a precise and nuanced thinker. This is a great piece of challenging philosophy that true critical thinkers will appreciate.
Shaun
Interesting, but even for me, a bit wordy. Basic thesis was good (in my opinion), but some of the passages were needlessly obtuse. Coming from me, that's saying something.
Ronald
Okay, I get it, and I agree with much of it, but this is one heck of a hard book to read. Make sure you've had Philosophy 101 and 201 before jumping into to this one.
Robert
Jul 08, 2009 Robert marked it as to-read
A book I was unaware of by a reputable Harvard scholar . . . recommended by my friend Jonathan.
Jonathan
This guy literally wrote the book on Manliness. Hard cover. Signed by author for Jon.
Kristina
Mar 03, 2007 Kristina added it
Recommends it for: no one
This book sucks! Read it if you want to get angry and/or incredibly depressed.
Tom
uitstekend boek over mannelijkheid in onze cultuur. Aan te raden!
Josh
This was an interesting one...
Subash
Subash is currently reading it
Jun 24, 2015
Marshall Hultman Roe
Marshall Hultman Roe marked it as to-read
Jun 22, 2015
Carl
Carl marked it as to-read
Jun 12, 2015
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Harvey Claflin Mansfield, Jr. is a Professor of Government at Harvard University.

He has held Guggenheim and NEH Fellowships and has been a Fellow at the National Humanities Center; he also received the National Humanities Medal in 2004 and delivered the Jefferson Lecture in 2007. He is a Carol G. Simon Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. He is notable for his generally conse
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More about Harvey Mansfield...
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