cover image Sibling Society

Sibling Society

Robert W. Bly. Da Capo Press, $25 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-201-40646-7

When Bly's Iron John shot onto the bestseller lists in the early '90s, it looked as if the men's movement it helped spawn might become a cultural force equal to the women's movement. This hasn't happened, Bly intimates in his new book, because the adults needed to bring the movement to fruition aren't available. The uninitiated and un-mentored have taken over our culture, he says, and with no ""parents"" around to referee our squabbling, we're caught in the throes of ""sibling"" rivalry. Adolescents can be cruel-hence, Bly avers, our current cutthroat competitiveness in businesses that feel no responsibility to the community, environment or their employees, and hence the rise of viciousness in the media and on the street. Bly rounds up many of the usual suspects: TV, latchkey (or day-care) children, excessive political correctness, violent rap lyrics and so on. True to his life's work, he incorporates fairy tale and myth to bolster his analysis, devoting, for example, a chapter to ""Jack and the Beanstalk""; to Bly, ""Jack represents all men and women who live in a fatherless and, increasingly, motherless society."" The text rambles at times, but Bly's central metaphor of a sibling society could catch on with those concerned about a lack of maturity in our consumer culture. First serial to Utne Reader; BOMC, QPB and One-Spirit Book Club selections; audio rights sold to Random. (May)