Masculine Men

The American Male - cover
The American Male: A Penetrating Look at the Masculinity Crisis.

Submitter: Well Boohoo! Men being oppressed. Let me get a tissue. 1966? I can understand this book being in an academic library. A public library? Patrons need updated info on topics like this.

Holly: Here is a link to the Kirkus Review of this book, back in 1966 and here’s another one from Wiley Online. I agree that for most public libraries, it could be weeded for currency. I don’t have any huge problem with the book itself or its message, since public libraries usually strive for balanced collections.  We don’t remove books from our collections because we don’t agree with them or like their message, just as we don’t add books to our collections because we agree with them. It’s not about us.

The second review says the book has “reasonableness,” and makes the book sound pretty well-researched and authoritative. So, it was not necessarily a bad choice in 1966 by the sound of things. If it is still an important work in the field, universities should keep it. If it still circulates in public libraries AND you have space for it AND it’s in good condition, that’s great too. Everyone else can update their 301.4’s to something newer.

The American Male - back cover

The Male in Crisis

The Male in Crisis


  1. Sooo… basically what men thought in the 60’s was that if women were allowed to do what was perfectly acceptable for men to do, like go out and have fun with their friends while the husband stayed home and cooked and changed diapers, women would take over the world and men would be treated like animals? Seriously? I’m glad my parents didn’t believe in that nonsense and that’s likely why they’re one of the few couples still married today.

    1. I am sure some of them did think that and still do. Didn’t we have one here? The discussion became so “lively” that the moderators had to close the comments. Regarding this book, however, its subtitle seems misleading — the author doesn’t really believe there is a masculinity crisis, I don’t think. Instead he wants to urge men not to think that way, but to find more constructive attitudes. Maybe the publisher put in the subtitle to punch up the drama? Don’t know if book publishing works the same way that newspapers do, where the reporter doesn’t write the final headline.

  2. Based on that excerpt, this actually looks like a pretty decent examination of the damage “alpha male” ideals/stereotypes do to both genders.
    Maybe see if there’s a more updated edition available, but I don’t think this one should be weeded, because that message is still relevant.

  3. There’s been lots better work on Masculinity (or “masculinities,” as the academic jargon goes) since then, R.W. Connell having been a leader in the field (see also John Tosh, Michael Kimmel). This seems like a decent enough book for its time, and could be of historiographical interest for someone studying the development of gender studies as it relates to men, but really wouldn’t even be of much help to a beginning student of gender/masculinities, who would need something more current.
    As a side note: one of the more interesting questions gender historians have asked is “why is it that masculinity seems to be perpetually in crisis?”

  4. I don’t know. Pages 30 and 31 look awfully dated, what with the fact that erectile dysfunction is openly discussed even in TV commercials, and the thinking about the causes and implications of being gay has also evolved. I wonder if anyone who is of the mindset that there is a masculinity crisis right now would find much to relate to in the masculinity crisis of 1966.

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