Guys, please, read this book. It will give you lots to think about regarding some problems with our society's ideals about what it means to be a "real...moreGuys, please, read this book. It will give you lots to think about regarding some problems with our society's ideals about what it means to be a "real man." AND it's uplifting - unlike many books complaining about society's problems, Jackson Katz actually gives reasonable, concrete suggestions about what to do about it.
In particular, I was impressed with the tone of this book. Acknowledging that obviously *most* guys aren't rapists or abusers, Katz doesn't attack men - he simply issues a challenge to us: do we have the courage to stand up against male violence? It's easy to divide the world into "bad guys" who hurt women and "good guys" who don't, then pat yourself on the back for being on the good side. But Katz asks us to go further and speak up when our guy friends engage in sexist behavior. Unfortunately there's a perception that it's normal and natural for "real men" to disrespect women; and if you challenge such behavior you're at risk of losing your status as "one of the guys." (You're also likely to be called gay; this doesn't follow logically and should be irrelevant anyway, but homophobia is another unfortunate part of today's definition of a "real man.") We're at a point where many individual guys don't really want to be sexist, but we're afraid of the social consequences for rocking the boat.
Story time: When Miller came out with Miller Lite, there were many guys who did want a less filling beer, but they wouldn't order one because it would be seen as a "girly" drink. So Miller ran a successful advertising campaign with well-known, respected, and very manly football players drinking Miller Lite in a bar with their friends, to show that it's okay for real men to drink light beer. In the same way, Katz suggests, if you're a popular, respected, or otherwise powerful guy, you could do a lot of good by being a good role model who actually steps in to prevent, discourage, or outright stop violent or sexist behavior. If we had a lot of role models showing us that it is good and proper for real men to respect women, then much violence could be prevented: 1) individual guys might be less likely to consider using force against a woman, and 2) their friends might be more likely to speak up and stop them from doing something stupid instead of thinking "There's nothing wrong with it" or "It's none of my business." Katz describes the training programs he's helped create to pass on this way of thinking to popular/powerful guys in groups like athletic teams and the military. There are some good suggestions for how to react in such circumstances in your own life.
Those are some of the major points, but there's LOTS more to this book. It's full of sobering facts about men's violence, but also contains many inspiring success stories and useful prevention ideas. Read it!(less)
Even if I weren't Polish, this book still would have broken my heart. It must have been insanely crushing to be a Pole fighting hard alongside the oth...moreEven if I weren't Polish, this book still would have broken my heart. It must have been insanely crushing to be a Pole fighting hard alongside the other Allies in World War II with one goal in mind - the return of your homeland's independence - and yet, despite being on the "winning" side, to have Churchill and FDR hand over your country for foreign occupation by Stalin (certainly with no legal authority to do so). This book tells the story well; not much previous knowledge of Polish history is required. Despite the title, only about half of it focuses in detail on the pilots of Kosciuszko Squadron in the Battle of Britain, while the other half gives plenty of context about the other Polish military troops, the in-country resistance movement, and the government-in-exile, describing how they fight bravely and how it comes to pass that they are denied the one thing they ask in return. This is a tragic story that makes it much harder to take freedom for granted - and to take "common knowledge" of history at face value.(less)
The pedagogical theories in this book may have helped temporarily make me a punky upstart who didn't pay attention in what was possibly my most intere...moreThe pedagogical theories in this book may have helped temporarily make me a punky upstart who didn't pay attention in what was possibly my most interesting undergraduate course... oh, and I cussed out the professors publicly on our official class blog. Sorry, Chris and Ben!
Even so, and even though the plot is not that exciting, the philosophy in this book is edge-of-your-seat mind-blowingly fascinating. (less)