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Iron John: : " A Book About Men " : Paperback – 7 Jul 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press Inc; 1st DaCapo Press Ed edition (7 July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306813769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306813764
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 432,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"This book needs to be read, I believe, not as a dry work of scholarship to be judged coolly by the mind, but as the work of a poet struggling to convey an emotional experience and lead us to what he has found within himself" (Guardian)

"Eclectic and unclassifiable. Iron John is a work whose mentors are the prophetic poets and crazies, William Blake and Walt Whitman " (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Important. timely. and powerful" (New York Times) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

The hugely influential international bestseller which has been acclaimed as the male equivalent of The Female Eunuch --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A refreshing change from more commercialised books, this is thought-provoking and challenging to our framework of who we are as Men, how we each got to where we are, what we may be / are missing in our lives and where we can go from here.
Lent to me by a single Mum in her 30's, she read this for insight into how her son (2 years old) needs to be positively influenced by strong mentor males. I feel this book can help give understanding to any male-female relationships (same age, son/mother, daughter/father, etc).
Not meant as an excuse to act 'macho' (which has negative connotations these days); instead this text guides Men on how to be Men whilst still maintaining all the other communication and caring skills learned of our time!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'd read about this classic book but had never read it until recently. I bought it as I was about to attend a male initiation course in Scotland. I started it before I went and completed it when I came home - the book just seemed to crystalise all that had gone before in the five days of the course - much of which had seemed hazy and obscure at the time I was there. A must for any modern man who's feeling as if something has been missed or passed him by. I'm in my sixties, but this book will resonate with any man of any age who wants to delve deeper into his masculine soul but doesn't know where to start. Some men may find Robert Bly's use of myth and fable a bit arty-farty, but my advice would be to try and recapture some of the wide-eyed wonder you had as a child and read it with a child's heart - the magic will find you and exhilarate you - it did for me!
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By A Customer on 4 Dec. 2004
Format: Paperback
With eye-popping surprises every few pages, it unravels the compelling symbolism behind fairytales from all over the world. If I had met this book during adolescence, I would have had a better emotional life but what an outstanding discovery nonetheless at 40.
Buy it for your teenager, whether girl or boy: its about where they are at now, they will be pulled in.
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book. It looks deeply into what it feels like to grow into a man and does so with humility and sensitivity. In the modern world, a lot of the experiences of the men from the older generation are not distilled and handed down to the next generation. This book makes a very good attempt to recreate that lost advice. I particularly liked the way that fables and poetry were seen as great sources of insights and wisdom.
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Format: Paperback
Looking through the lens of myth, poet Robert Bly concludes that the Industrial Revolution pulled families apart. He blames absent fathers who failed to initiate boys into adulthood for many of today's cultural woes, including passivity among men, unhappy marriages and the prevalence of gangs. Bly cites stories from the ancient Greeks through the Brothers Grimm to show that young men's struggle to achieve mature adulthood has remained constant throughout history. The myth of Iron John follows the development of a young prince from his early ties to his mother, to his maturation and entry into the world of his father. Mothers, says Bly, must relinquish their babies to enable their sons to grow up. Bly uses his ramble through literature to explore deep issues that play out in men's personal and work lives. His metaphoric, poetic language may be off-putting to concrete thinkers, but getAbstract recommends Bly's classic to men and women who are looking for insight into modern men's psychic drives and struggles.
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Format: Paperback
Is it genius or is it psychobabble? A bit of both. The general ideas, about the problems of defining male roles and the male psyche in the modern world, are good; I'm pleased that, in reacting against the Soft Male, it doesn't go running all the way back to Captain Caveman. When it tries to get too much out of the Iron John story, though, it does veer towards New Age cobblers. There's the mixture of over-interpretation, dubious factoids and pat psychology you expect in self-help books (which is essentially what this is), plus a lot of neo-pagan flotsam thrown in. And what are Bly's practical suggestions? Shout out in the middle of a conversation, or do a little dance. Un-pre-dictable! (Like Vector in Despicable Me.)

Actually I think Bly goes wrong right at the start of his fable. The 'golden ball', the secret of a whole life, is not found in the world of grown-up masculinity or femininity; those are only substitutes and distractions, albeit necessary ones for the continuation of the species. Mistaking them for the goal is like thinking your day job is your entire life. No, it's in something we already have before all that, lose sight of (most of us) in puberty, and may have a chance to recover in later life. It follows that, for the menopausal men who are likely to read this book, 'getting in touch with the Wild Man' is not the answer; they should be looking for something far beyond that. Bly mentions Enkidu in the Gilgamesh story - but doesn't seem to notice that his role is not to stay a Wild Man in the woods, but to go to the City and join Gilgamesh in his quest for meaning.

In fact the main value of this is maybe not so much to help grownups evaluate their own lives, as to make them think about how they deal with any young lads they may be responsible for.
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