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The New Menís Studies

A Selected and Annotated Interdisciplinary Bibliography

Book review Copyright © 1995 by Bert H. Hoff

Eugene R. August, The New Menís Studies: A Selected and Annotated Interdisciplinary Bibliography (Englewood CO: Libraries Unlimited, Inc., 1994)(2nd Edition). Order on-line


The New Menís Studies
by Eugene R. August
Order on-line

One often hears that there arenít many books out on menís issues. This superbly-done and comprehensive 400-page annotated bibliography will convince you otherwise. It lists over 1,049 titles. The descriptive paragraphs are succinct, creatively written, and, most important, honest. Typical entries might read "In this exercise in pop psychology ... [t]he book describes the negative Macho Ideal at length, but lacks an effectively envisioned positive ideal to counteract it." Or, "Deliberately quirky and convoluted, this book ..." Or, of Dr. Joyce Brothersí What Every Woman Should Know about Men, "Some readers may find Brothersí discussions lucid and helpful; others may find them simplistic and occasionally condescending to men."

The book is a delight to browse through. The length, the format and the references to "menís studies" scream "academic," but the annotations quickly disabuse you of the fear that you might encounter the try pedantry of academic writing. The paragraphs fairly summarize the booksí main thesis, an observation I confirmed by reading his descriptions of books I had reviewed. In particular, in my mind two important books that didnít receive the attention they deserved are Wildmen, Warriors and Kings: Masculine Spirituality and the Bible by the late Jesuit priest Patrick Arnold, and Gregory Max Vogt's Return to Father: Archetypal Dimensions of the Patriarch. Professor Augustís descriptions quickly convey the important messages of these books and demonstrate why the books are important.

The book has separate sections on mythopoesis, health, midlife, sexuality, spirituality, fatherhood, divorce, feminism, menís rights, erotica, sports, and other topics. I might complain that some of the most important recent books (e.g. Malidoma Somťís biography Of Water and the Spirit, Alan Chinenís Once Upon a Midlife and Beyond the Hero, or Joseph Jastraubís Sacred Manhood, Sacred Earth are not present, but that argues only that we need a Third Edition soon.

The book keeps a clear male-positive focus. It is the first book Iíve seen that picks up Patrick Arnoldís definition of misandry, or anti-male sexism, and the related term androphobia, an irrational fear and loathing of men. If Professor Augustís words, "misandry and androphobia continue to be such acceptable forms of sexism in large segments of modern society that they often go unnoticed and unprotested. In the present annotations, misandry and androphobia are neither ignored or tolerated."

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