There is no denying that men are not… men anymore. Somehow we’ve become accustomed to the idea that they should be metrosexuals with stylish burses, carrying on bromances with their male friends. Women are more and more often choosing to avoid what seems an irreparable situation by remaining single or perhaps banding with groups of women for support and protection. Many either lament the male role models of yesteryear (think Gary Cooper, John Wayne, or James Stewart) or simply wonder why today’s men seem hopelessly confused about what it means to be a man and defiant in their confusion.
Rather than bewail the situation, author, former Education and Drug Czar, and popular talk show host William J. Bennett attacks the issue directly. From the moment God created man in His image men have struggled to live up to that image. Dr. Bennett captures this struggle with significant pieces of history and classic writing that describes what men are supposed to be. He offers biographies of men he has known and knows today as examples of 21st century masculinity, forestalling any argument that today we must be more nuanced and less set on those outdated differences between men and women.
Perhaps the most rewarding thing about Dr. Bennett is that he is grounded in a strong Catholic faith; men have an origin that is ordained by a being higher than themselves, who knows us and understands what the world needs men to be. What it means to be masculine is written into a man’s heart by God.
Dr. Bennett begins by inviting us to “… Bring Back Heroes” and describing how they can be recognized:
“In all of them it is fair to say that there was a certain nobility, a largeness of soul, a hitching up of one’s own purposes to larger purposes, to purposes beyond the self, to something that demanded endurance or sacrifice or courage or resolution or compassion; it was to nurture something because one had a sense of what deserved to be loved and preserved (xxvi).”
The book reminds men of what is right and true and eternal about their natures, and is a noble and worthy reminder that men and women alike would do well to embrace, and share. A hearty well done to the author.
This book was given to me free of charge by Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.