To be a man is to: ? The age old adage goes one way or another depending on who you ask. For those who fought to protect their country’s freedom, manliness lies in sacrifice, tears, and bloodshed. For another it may be in exploring unknown frontiers, uncovering what has not been seen. And for yet another, loving a woman is their definition of manhood.
Each man knows, however, that manliness is not encapsulated by a singular definition. That would be like describing a tree simply as tall; while omitting its fruit, leaves, provision of shade, or texture. In the same way, men are made up of a plethora of qualities.
Intro, Stephen Mansfield, stage left. Mansfield’s wonderfully titled Mansfield’s Book of Manly Men purposes to resurrect “your inborn, timeless, essential, masculine self.” Listing four “Manly Maxims” and sixteen attributes that collectively define manliness Mansfield calls out to men who are aiming to restore the original image of man to their life.
Being a man has always been a goal of mine. Having the XY chromosome is not enough. I want to crochet a scarf, and wear it while I climb a 14k mountain. I want to read a poem to woo a beautiful woman (You can find her on twitter @robynmederich). I want to prepare a meal and eat it at a table and chairs that I also built. All of these things are manly, but they aren’t enough. A man doesn’t comprise of external affairs only. A man will find himself complete when he combines external adventures with internal traits.
Mansfield’s Book of Manly Men is a great guide for men of any station in life. White collar, blue collar, no collar; men from all can gain from this book.
Call me crazy but I believe the book has been intentionally designed to bring reading pleasure to a man. The hard exterior with cloth binding is enjoyable to hold. Brief but direct chapters confront a man sharply, but not insultingly. Perfect font size and line spacing make it easy for the eyes to breeze through and brain to remember.
Each chapter discusses a character trait a historical person (and neat artistic drawing of them) to illustrate the character trait with. The end of each chapter contains personal/group questions as a way to analyze one’s own life. There are songs, poems, and quotes by notable manly figures which aid the book’s overall theme, aesthetic, and goal of helping men become manly men.
I highly recommend this book to men. Women, it’s just not for you. Not in a “Little Rascal – He-man, woman-hater” way, but more like how you don’t want me in the kitchen when you’re in there, Robyn. I totally get it. 🙂
Also, please know this is not a right-wing-conservative, blow-stuff-up, be-a-jerk, drink beer, eat meat, rock-n-roll book. This book is about redeeming man’s purpose on this earth. To be strong, caring, legacy-leaving, intentional, God fearing manly men.