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on 19 January 2009
I have to review this book as I've read it once and am reading it for the second time now. I first heard of it when studying David DeAngelo's On Being a Man Program (look on-line if you want to see what that is). I'd have to say this is a whole new realm of facination for me. This book is a big influence on the Mankind Project, a society which actually provides the ritual innitation into manhood that the book talks about as missing from society. If you like mythology you're going to love this book as it brings many of the mythical gods from around the world to life in a whole new way. These mythical figures represent hard wired behaviour patterns in the male sub-concious. The book is a guide to what these archetypes are and how the play themselves out in men's lives. There's a section at the end of the book that gives four techniques for activating the archetypes in your own life. There's a case study of a guy who can't get women in his life and the Phycho Analyst recommeds a techniques for invoking Eros (the Greek god of love that's responsible for male sexual appeal). Needless to say the guy starts feeling and acting more attractive and goes on to get what he wants. There are immature and mature versions of the archetypes, while reading the dysfunctional behaviours of the immature types I felt like I was reading a autobiography of my own life, both my own behaviour over the years and other guy's behaviour. Many problems in the world are created by boys in men's bodies who didn't grow up and are now acting hostile and destructive to try and pretend that they're men. This book addresses the issue and teaches you to allow the mature male behaviours to grow in your own life. I prefer this book ot Iron John because it's much easier to understand and had more meaning for me.
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on 8 September 2011
I bought this book after attending a 'men's retreat' which stirred my interest in finding out more about the masculine archetypes within all men. I approached it with scepticism, as I always tend to with 'touchy-feely' books. Often they promise a lot but halfway through you find that they are just products of the author's self-indulgence and have little real value. Not so with this book. I found a complicated subject clearly explained in layman's language that isn't patronizing, just clear, approachable and human. As the various archetypes and their 'shadow' selves were revealed to me I found areas of difficulty within my life becoming much clearer and could identify with both positive and negative aspects of all the archetypes and how they may impact upon my life. As soon as I finished the book I re-read it to clarify some of the points I had identified and am making in-roads towards trying to come to terms with these 'men inside me', hopefully to make friends and live amicably with them - I'm not naive enough to think that I may be able to change them or make them go away, but this book gives you hope that you can make a truce with some of the 'maggots' burrowing away at the psyche and live a more peaceful and wholesome existence. A valuable book for any man who wants to get closer to the 'real man' buried inside him.
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on 26 January 2016
Clearly this is an important piece of work in the field of masculine studies and Robert Moore appears to be well respected in the field, but as has been said previously the work is too abstract. One can appreciate the various manifestations of mature and immature masculinity with ourselves, and the 4 forms are interesting to explore within oneself, but as a practical book of self help - and I suspect there are a number of sales to men seeking that - this is wide of the mark. True, it is not marketed as self help but it gets listed amongst that number and so will be taken up as if it is. As a framework, as one model of masculinity it can be useful, and to be used in conjunction with other models.
There are more progressive forward thinking less navel gazing books for men aiming to discover themselves out there. Read for an overview of psychological thinking on masculinity but go elsewhere if you need practical steps to discovering who you are.
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on 10 July 2012
It's a well written, easy to understand, interesting book, that is in most part oriented towards men, but offers something for women as well. Describes the origins and motives of certain types of behavior and different personality types. In short, it tries to give a "formula/pattern" for a healthy mindset, also describing the unhealthy ones.

The concepts and the phrasing used to describe them, are balanced very well between technical psychology/psychotherapy, myth/fairytailes/literature and spirituality/self help, without becoming too much like any of those genres and thus is easy to read and yet full of intense information that is very captivating.

I'm not a huge self-help fan, but i would recommend this book to everyone. Just try to lay the book down every once in a while and think about the concepts described within, without burning through the pages too fast.
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VINE VOICEon 22 August 2010
Lying just beneath the surface of our conscious male minds, lies the structural framework of 4 great male archetypes. Each with their own attributes and unique characteristics, our mission is to allow these elements of our being to come to light. To cultivate their growth and imbue our very selves with the spirit and energy of these beings...

No, I wasn't describing the latest Final Fantasy or Pokemon game to you. This is, in fact, the hypothesis postulated by our intrepid authors; Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette. A tantalising one to say the least! Now, any man with a shred of intelligence will of course realise that we don't have a physical manifestation of a king going "get me out of here... I'm being cramped by your stomach and gall bladder", or that we have ghosts inside us ready to possess us... but more that the behaviours intrinsic to the classical male models are present in our instinctive framework. Any notion of an actual king in you is mere imagery to help move the process along (after all, vivid images are easier to grasp than banal ones)

In terms of fundamental principles... it's a delightful, uplifting idea. Not only do our authors say "these are the qualities men should aim for", but they comfort us with the notion that these very qualities are inside of us... we just haven't quite realised it. And for people seeking personal change, this is an excellent thing to encourage. All to often, the mistake in self-help is the focus on looking elsewhere for what we want - overlooking the fact that we have what we need inside of us... meaning that the poor readers engage in a game of trying to attain as many external symbols of success to feel good (be it more money, fast cars, big jobs or notches on their belt)

So as a concept goes... it's delightful. Horribly new agey, which I often despise... but I can't help but love the idea. The authors explain the 4 traits clearly enough to allow you to paint a vivid picture of the traits and character. They also explain the 'Shadow' aspects of the characters well, helping to keep you everything in check and not "overdo" it with the archetypes. This alone makes it a very helpful reference point. Instead of running yourself in circles trying to double-guess your behaviours and what to work on... simply cycle through the 4 archetypes. "Am I working like them?", if not, you know where to place more focus.

The book falls down, however, on its 'how to access the archetypes'. The tactics take 'New Age' to a new level, making me wonder if I need to grow a long beard and start frolicking naked in the forests for them to work. They're novel, but really not of much use unless you're said bearded, naked, frolicking man. Some of the 'evidence' towards the characteristics also get a bit tiresome and are sometimes very tenuous. "We met a kid who wanted to throw himself into the forest. THIS MEANS THAT THIS ARCHETYPE IS REAL!", "A man prayed to the God of love... and got laid. THIS STUFF IS GOOD!"

The way I see it... the book's main use is that it gives a decent framework to what is an abstract idea (how to be a mature masculine male). Take the guides and personality traits, lock them in the back of your mind - and be on your way. Don't waste time getting caught up with trying to 'unleash' the spirits inside you or start talking to them (You get funny looks when you do that). Every now and then, just think "Am I being like a [x]?" and then react accordingly. If the answer is 'no', see if you can find a way to work on it... but don't get too hung up on trying to 'be' them: That's called an 'ego trip' and makes you look like a self-righteous git.

Peace
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on 21 June 2012
An excellently structured book. I am learning some deep truths about myself. Perhaps it wont all sink in on the first reading, but the structural concepts are very approachable and give the reader a strong map with which to learn and relearn some very important ideas about male identity and development. Highly recommended.
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on 14 July 2008
Having recently spent a week at Findhorn with Robert Moore and feeling his humility and kingly energy at first hand, as well as re-reading this inspirational book again, with a new slant, I am very much in awe of the powerful wisdom that is contained within the pages of possibly one of the primers of the male movement since the early 1990s. In person, Moore has quoted statistical evidence to back up the broad sweep of his intuitive claims for his four archetype theory, but such claims are not evidenced here, instead concentrating on a broad delineation.

Surely we are listening to the positive central tenets of the KWML in its outline of the passage from boyhood to manhood by now..?

However, a regular appraisal of any news TV and advertising will tell you otherwise.. the false heart of the reporting press seems more interested in a society in the grip of monster boys and high performing narcissists - even if disturbingly accurate. Or maybe these media outlets are reporting on a society that is badly in need of inclusive kingly provision, warrior focus, magician transformation, and lover intimacy? Such traits that are not even considered in their full maturity.. reaching a spiritual cardinal virtuosity as blessing, service, healing and joy.

Moore avers that the means of achieving the quest to obtain male maturity has been lost in a western framework and resembles a slow deliberate torture of the soul without maturation reference points, especially from those provided by older wiser men.

This book is a Jungian unravelling of the deep structures of the collective unconscious, and by emersing in its deep and rich information, has the potential to provide an archetypal journey of the Self with a concomitant mature strengthening of Egoic adaptations.

Moore originally dedicated his life to completing Jung's map of the collective unconscious, and instead stumbled upon a generation of men who readily 'incorporated' his work, and have culturally thrived in its deep reflective waters of male exploration..
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on 13 November 2011
No-one has 'all the answers' but this book, I personally feel, is amongst the best 'stepping stone' starting points for seekers seeking an orientation. It's concise, user friendly yet deep as opposed to fluffy. When the student is ready, the teacher appears as they say - thus, if you're ready, this will appear as a teacher to lead you into further paths to greater wisdom; if life may be thought of as a great, eternal cryptic crossword puzzle - here is a helpful 'clue'. Money well spent.
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on 2 November 2003
REally insightful book. Lots of useful information on male archetypes and their shadows - not really an ideal first book for someone looking into male issues, but for those who's already done some exploring it's definitely worth having.
The one criticism I would have is that some fo the prose is a little turgid and it takes some concentration to read and absorb. Well worth making the effort though!
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on 17 April 2012
This book is revealing for everyone looking for his identity and should be also read by every parent, young or old...
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