REVIEW OF JOSH HAWLEY’S MANHOOD: The Masculine Virtues America Needs: I am reading a number of books about men for a possible new book –kind of a post Men on Strike book that looks at men’s situation 10 years later. I was relieved to pick up Hawley’s book after reading others by liberal authors who just made me sad –that their view of men is so tempered by fear and apologies that it makes it painful to read.
Hawley’s book, in contrast, is not fearful in the least and it was a joy to read. It celebrates manhood in all its glory and looks at what gives men’s life purpose and meaning. Though he draws on ancient wisdom from the Greeks and Romans and from the Bible, much of it is pertinent to what is happening today. Masculinity is now viewed as toxic and something to be destroyed. Manhood takes the position that the virtues of men such as courage, purpose, character and helping the world become what it was meant to be matter. That men’s work and life matter. That is a big lesson in a society that tells us that men’s lives are trash, that they are responsible for the ills of the world.
For the positive attributes of masculinity, I applaud him. However, much of what Hawley proposes, such as duty, honor, and bravery require some degree of cooperation from others. He says to choose a giant issue in your life, like marriage and run towards it, not away. “Be willing to sacrifice.” Take the risk and injury and pain.” But my thoughts are that if a man wants to make his marriage work and he has an unwilling partner, he cannot beat a dead horse and keep trying with a woman who does not want the same. If a man wants the country to be less dependent and free, but many citizens reject freedom and chase dependency, at what point do you keep trying with people who are this entitled and weak?
Anyway, the book gets you to think about what it means to be a man in our society and has a positive message about men which is a reason enough to read it. Highly recommended.