cover image Iron John: A Book about Men

Iron John: A Book about Men

Robert W. Bly. Addison Wesley Longman, $19.95 (268pp) ISBN 978-0-201-51720-0

Today's sensitized male may be in touch with his ``feminine'' side, but, writes poet Bly, this ``soft male'' possesses little vitality and is hobbled by grief and anguish. To achieve real masculinity, Bly argues, men must cultivate a fierce tenderness to be found neither in the macho/John Wayne model nor in the ``interior feminine.'' Taking as his starting point the Grimm fairy tale ``Iron John,'' the author sets forth an eight-stage initiatory path whose steps include remembering one's psychic wounds, communion with a mentor or ``inner King,'' becoming a lover, reviving one's inner warriors and receiving a ``second heart.'' Bly avoids cant as he ransacks Jung, Freud and Reich; referents include Greek, Egyptian and Celtic myths, the Parsifal legend, Blake and Amerindian ritual. A wise and healing book full of fresh insights, Bly's odyssey will help men grapple with identity, fatherhood, relationships and such crises as addiction and divorce. (Nov.)