Men to Boys: The Making of Modern Immaturity

Gary Cross, Author . Columbia Univ. $29.50 (316p) ISBN 978-0-231-14430-8

Cross, a professor of history at Penn State University, seeks the contemporary social puzzle of why men are refusing to grow up and commit to marriage and family. With declining marriage statistics, Cross (The Cute and the Cool ) explains that these American “boy-men” reject the traditional notions of mature masculinity, while opting for vanity and narcissism with a new motto: manhood “is play and it never ends.” He cites the example of Hugh Hefner's popular concept of childish male wish fulfillment, an empire built on sexually available women, carnal fantasies and eternal playtime. Feminism, extended adolescence and an aggressive media culture promoting conflicting signals about maleness and fatherhood only add to this immaturity trend. Not only does Cross outline the dilemma, but he cites a cure: “We must recognize that as adults, and equally as men, we have responsibilities to our partners, families, and communities beyond our own need for experience and pleasure.” In this perceptive, eloquent book, Cross concludes that “growing-up” has never been more difficult in this complicated time. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/04/2008
Release date: 09/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
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