Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Book Review: Stephen Mansfield's Book of Manly Men: An Utterly Invigorating Guide to Being Your Most Masculine Self

Now I know I'm a woman, and a book about being masculine may not make sense for me to read. I found that their are some very valuable lessons for men in this, as well as women, but these are topics that I believe men should at least be able to learn about, and grow from as they read. There wasn't much I disagreed with regarding Mansfield himself. It's mostly when he starts referring to outside references that he starts to diminish his own points.

Summary: Stephen Mansfield shares stories of men well known and not so well known that we can learn from. He also gives a list of manly maxims that he believes men can follow to better themselves as men, which involves guarding your own territory and being a man of God. He then shares stories where these values are in place from men like Job to Booker T. Washington. He balances biblical perspective well, and you also get to learn some history.

Characters: The characters you will find in this book are ones meant to learn from, and give men some guidance. Mansfield also doesn't put them out there as perfect people, which helps. I think that Mansfield being honest about their imperfections makes their achievements more easy to relate to. Also, as a woman I learned a lot from the book as well. I thought if nothing else can be taken then you at least have a great history lesson. I didn't know much of the stuff about the men he uses to make his point in the story. I think if you're a female though there is a lesson to be had in being humble, and if nothing else trying to understand better how the opposite sex works, and encouraging your man in the way this book explains a man's wants.

Writing: Mansfield is a really good writer, because he makes content that might generally be less than compelling to read, very compelling to read. He also channels it well toward men. He's very direct in his writing, and I think he knows how to make a book appealing to masculinity. I enjoyed the pacing, and thought it was a good idea to start with the Arab men that he met straight at the beginning of the book. For some reason that caught my attention. He also weaves in quotes and poems from some of the men he writes about helping strengthen their own stories.

Plot: This book is very well put together and cohesive. With many books that are non-fiction, and personally in the betterment self category, they can get very patchy and off topic. One moment they are explaining the main theme of the book, and the next we're in a category that is more like a cousin to the topic. It seems like most people don't have enough content to fill a book. Mansfield though lays his out very well. He starts out by discussing his foundation for being a man, and then going on to give us examples to back it up. I believe that Mansfield does well to never put down women in the process as well. For some reason a lot of male defenses in being masculine is that it's just offensive for a man to be compared to a woman. Never use being feminine as a way to tear a man down, because that is just offensive to women. There is nothing offensive about being us. Mansfield does a great job at doing that, until he quotes an outsider reference, John Eldredge. Eldredge says in his book, Wild At Heart, that no men are left because they have become women. I get the point of that, but there has got to be a better way to encourage men than throwing "you're all women now!" in their face. I am a woman, and I don't want my sex to be used as an insult men to encourage them to be men!  I am not an insult. Anyways, I hated that Mansfield referenced that quote, but otherwise he never said anything himself to that extent.

For men I would recommend this book, and if you're a woman wanting to understand a man's needs better than I highly recommend this. It's got me to at least stepping back and trying to view the men I know and what they are striving for in their own life to feel manly. I think regardless of whether he is a army guy, or a guy who loves fashion, all men are trying to achieve the feeling of manliness, and this book gives some general ways without being too stereotypical to do that.

Rating 8 of 10.

This book was provided by Booksneeze in exchange for a review.

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