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Why Young Men: The Dangerous Allure of Violent Movements and What We Can Do about It

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  126 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Across the world, we see an explosion of unpredictable violence committed by alienated young men.

Jamil Jivani recounts his experiences working as a youth activist throughout North America and the Middle East, drawing striking parallels between ISIS recruits, gangbangers, and Neo-Nazis in the West.

Having narrowly escaped a descent into crime and gang violence in his native
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 25th 2019 by All Points Books (first published April 3rd 2018)
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3.51  · 
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 ·  126 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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Jun 13, 2019 rated it liked it
This is one of those books where I love the central conceit or premise (in this case, why is it that so many young men are falling prey to radical and violent ideologies in western countries?), but I was less warm on the actual execution. I wouldn't steer anyone away from this book - there are a lot of great facts and I really appreciated the author giving me a vocabulary to talk about various aspects of what we often lump together under the label of toxic masculinity. That said, this book isn't ...more
It's at least a 3.5 stars but I can't round it up because it is a memoir that includes so many angles of individual "eyes" / judgment and anecdotal experiences. Not that any of them are at all invalid just because this one man has made them. They are all valid as hell. I'm absolutely sure he lived every one. Especially all that intersect with the Nation of Islam and Farrakhan.

It's absolutely true for the gang banger prone models abounding in Chicago ghettos, as it was for him in marginal Toronto
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There isn't a final answer for the question of the title but there are many likelihoods presented with a mix of personal experience and research. A quick read and a timely one.
Judy  Monchuk
I bought this book after hearing Jamil Jivani speak passionately about why young men turn to violence, crime and radicalization. A lawyer, community organizer and activist, Jivani was articulate, thoughtful and reasoned. As a boy growing up in Brampton, Ont., with a largely absent father, he wanted to be a gangster. He eventually turned away from crime, opting instead for education and change.

Yet "I was drawn to all these bad ideas because I thought I was not important. And these groups were in
Apr 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canlit
Why Young Men: Rage, Race and the Crisis of Identity is an interesting book on exactly what its subtitle describes, but by the end it felt like it was just skimming the surface. It felt like a really well-written undergraduate essay but lacked the deep interrogation of the intersection of rage-race-identity-gender-geography-etc. that a really impacting book would have.

Merge this one, written by Jamil Jivani, with Daemon Fairless' Mad Blood Stirring: The Inner Lives of Violent Men and you might h
chantel nouseforaname
I thought this was a highly readable look into how many young men get caught up in lifestyles and situations that they would have otherwise avoided by being neglected or ostracized by their communities and looking for community elsewhere. I also see how not feeling welcome in your community can lead young people maybe, but not necessarily, towards violence, but could definitely lead them towards an individualistic lifestyle where they may not want to engage in what is seen as "normative" "linea ...more
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This book meandered a fair bit but I enjoyed the personalized style of the writing. Jivani is taking the reader along on his exploration of his theme, young men, the risk to them of criminalization and radicalization, how society can protect them from these things and offer them better lives, and at the same time reduce violence. I enjoyed the journey, bouncing back and forth with his own thoughts. This style pays proper respect to the complexity of these issues. What Jivani once tho
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: social-science
This book was a great start. It's really relevant, seeing as radicalization through religious extremism, white nationalism, and so on mainly affects young men nowadays. It deals with serious topics such as institutionalized racism, structural inequality in employment opportunities, the media and its decline in credibility, and etc. It's written in a not overly complicated language, making its argument accessible to all which is good.

I, however, found it a frustrating read. That is because it rea
Ben Truong
Why Young Men: Rage, Race and the Crisis of Identity are a collection of thoughts, insights, and opinions of Jamil Jivani when he felt familiar with the Paris attacker in 2015. He did not know them personally, but he knew the communities that they have grown up in and the challenges they faced, because it mirrored the circumstance of his own life and if the loom of fate twisted differently, he too could have been like those attackers.

Jamil Jivani was raised in a mostly immigrant community in Tor
Emi Bevacqua
Jamil Jivani is a self-made man of moral integrity and purpose-driven enthusiasm. Risen from Canadian poverty, fatherless since his African father abandoned him along with his two sisters and their white mom, deemed illiterate as a teen and now he's a Yale graduated lawyer who's beaten cancer. I found the bits he shared about his own life to be some of his most compelling, I wish he had gone into more detail about the Ismaili Indians for example, who adopted his African father, and also more abo ...more
Kim O.
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an insightful and topical book about why young men in particular turn to violence, gangs, and can be radicalized. He references both international and North American studies. It felt rather like reading a set of essays or a thesis on the topic. Yet, what makes the book so readable is that Jivani has populated the book with stories of his personal experience, from his young growing years through to current adult.
As I am an educator working with many disadvantaged people who are dealing wi
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jamil Jivani is a young man born and raised in Brampton, Ontario who is now a lawyer living in Toronto and teaching law at Osgoode Hall Law School. During his youth, he flirted with gang culture and Nation of Islam, and almost didn’t graduate from high school. In this book, he discusses how he got from there to here and most importantly, poses the question of the title.

It was a very interesting read. There is, of course, no easy answer to the question of why are some young men attracted to sinis
Liz Dustan
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed a lot of this book. I think his experiences and research were insightful and well relayed. I would say the part that I continued to get caught up on was his approach to Canada. I hoped as a Canadian he would be more open to talking critically about his own country's racist past, but he often used it as a quick intro to talking about problems in the US and Europe and brushed over any wrongdoing on the part of Canada. In one passage he spoke about increases in immigrant population ...more
Caden Mccann
I decided to pick up Why Young Men recently after having seen Jivani interviewed on CBC in light of the recent Toronto van attack. In the book, Jivani offers a memoir of sorts, providing an account of his experiences growing up as an alienated mixed-race kid in the GTA, his schooling at York and later Yale Law School, and some of his work abroad investigating Muslim radicalization after the 2015 Paris attacks. Ultimately, Jivani seeks to highlight male radicalization and violence as something th ...more
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was powerful. It's so hard to imagine living a different life when your used to the one you have. It's an eye opener on what it's like to be Black or Muslim and live in a country of predominantly White people. I being white myself, I have never had any of the issues that this man grew up with and I lived in Toronto until a teenager as well. Its amazing to see how far he's come along and what he's turned his life in to when it could have gone another way.
I also really liked how it dive
Alex Mulligan
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jivani presents an insightful and strong case into the causes and effects violence, frustration, and alienation young men are experiencing across the globe. While the research he cites isn’t new (and has been around for a while) Jivani sums it up in a coherent and clear narrative.

Why Young Men examines the structural causes that lead many vulnerable people down destructive paths and what can be done to stop that. Central to Jivani’s argument is that there isn’t one cause in particular but many
Robert Briggs
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why Young Men lived up to Michael "Pinball" Clemons'description on the back of the book. It is a look at the life of a young man under pressure and includes his research into the lives of other young men who are similar and different than him. The parts about Jivani's parents were most interesting. I also liked his discussion of Belgium. He was there at a very interesting time. The book left me wanting to know more discussion about Jivani's philosophy at the end, but it is a good look into his e ...more
Toby Mustill
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why Young Men... This book has insights that I previously failed to recognize. The book explores so many angles and influences on youth that the reader cannot help but be enlightened. It goes into details regarding the most important institutions and individuals for young men. It helps connect school, religion/culture, parenting, community, peers and youth work to put the pieces together on how the help our youth. Although the book has a strong focus on minority youth and radicalization, it draw ...more
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, politics
Very readable, many ideas packed in, but easy to get through. Perhaps could have been 2-3 books, a few different interesting perspectives on this large & complex topic (issues & intervention in NA, in Europe, positive masculinity, policy issues), but maybe he'll do some deeper dives in future books? Refreshingly nuanced conclusions (mostly: a little bit of column A, a little bit of column B), and compelling combination of personal experience and research. I feel more hopeful and energize ...more
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5. I found it interesting and I appreciated a few comments he made about feminism (dealing with issues related to young men doesn’t mean there is opposition to women). I’m not sure about his thoughts on Charter Schools, but I’m a unionized, public school teacher so I guess that’s not surprising. I do wish there were more suggestions on how to improve the lives of our young men, but Jivani definitely gets the conversation going, especially in relation to religion and men of colour.
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
So boring, I didn't finish it.Reasons for radicalization?
1) Lack of father-figures.
2) hip-hop music providing the wrong aspirations.
3) mistrust of, and maltreatment by, the police.

But too much filler. So I stopped reading.
Caitlin Padanyi
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a fascinating look at the complicated pieces that go into radicalism and violence. Jivani explores the idea of a poverty of imagination - such a fascinating concept. How can we help young men dream of a bigger and better future?
Peter Phillips
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gender
Interesting but at the same time I had the impression the writer wasn’t always sure about what to write. Several chapters are repetitive but the auth makes a good effort to inform the reader on some of the frustrations that young men have.
Amy Boughner
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really thoughtful and well done
While I appreciated Jamil's story and enjoyed reading the book overall, it lacked scope and depth of the issues that are presented on the cover and in the synopsis.
Jivani presents a complex issue from many perspectives - lived experience, interactions with young men, work experience and research insights. A challenging and hopeful read.
Aug 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good introductory read to this topic, written narratively about the author's own experiences.
Conor Cronin
Apr 16, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't grasp the central thesis of the book. I don't know what the author's conclusion ultimately was
This book is more of a memoir/autobiography than anything else. The science is fairly thin on the ground as is the analysis of why young men are so much more likely to become extremists - regardless of colour or creed, it's nearly always men who commit these acts of terrorism.

The usual list of reasons are rolled out: bad fathers, decline in traditional religion, men are less powerful than they once were (although, this doesn't take into account extremists from highly patriarchal societies such a
Barbara McVeigh
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: can-lit, non-fiction
I bought this book for my school library after hearing Jivani speak at The FOLD last May. What stuck with me was his comment: “The hardest thing I ever had to do was leave my friends” in order to change his trajectory.

I was curious to read the rest of his book to see how his ideas and experiences could help my students. I learned a lot, but still felt like the book was just the start of a conversation, just skimming the surface. A next step could be to explore the writing and speeches Jivani me
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“People are used to hearing a certain kind of narrative – the world is unfair, racist, biased, and the primary concern we should have is that these are systems that oppress us – systemic racism, sexism, and so on. It’s amazing how much this passes as a truth.” Jamil Jivani” 0 likes
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