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Manliness Paperback – 6 Jul 2007

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3.9 out of 5 stars 53 reviews from

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'Mansfield draws on a rich variety of sources...a treatise on how American society reached the point that it has.' -- Shane Hegarty, The Irish Times, 17th June 2006 -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Hardcover.

About the Author

Harvey C. Mansfield is William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Government, Harvard University.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 3.9 out of 5 stars 53 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars tour de force 3 Jun. 2016
By anonymous - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Leo Strauss famously commented that the change in meaning of the word "virtue", from manliness in war to a woman's chastity, reflects the crisis of modernity. In a way Mansfield's book can be seen as a commentary on that remark - a remark to which he alludes. In his lectures on Plato, Strauss often pointed out how Socrates actions seem more womanly than manly. He spends his time talking to close friends rather than engaged in public oratory. He goes barefoot. Strauss commented on the similarity of Xenophon's style of writing to Jane Austen's - briefly hinting at "odious subjects" before returning to safer ground. But Strauss also noted that there have been no great women philosophers. This book helps reconcile the contradiction.

The work follows a familiar line of thinking - locating the cause of modern relativism and nihilism in the foundational texts of liberal democracy by Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Locke. The attempt to bring the light of reason into the cave is accompanied by an explicit denunciation of courage and manliness. This, ironically, ultimately leads to an explosion of irrationality and assertion (Simon de Beauvoir) that cannot satisfy simultaneously the desire for independence and transcendence. Never once denying the evils of traditional patriarchy, Mansfield looks to the classical political philosophy of Aristotle and Plato to find a way out.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To put it crassly, "Haters gonna hate" 30 Sept. 2012
By L. Aaker - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Liberal intellectuals are attempting to bring the rating down with lengthy diatribes meant to impress us by their size and not by their wit, as if words were weights to be lifted in which the more, the more impressive. Mansfield has created a spectacular book that any half-serious thinker will have a very difficult time refuting.
The incredible wit and gravitas of Mansfield makes for a compelling account of what manliness is, and I'm so sorry but no, he is not politically correct.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amusing tour de force of intellectual history 7 Nov. 2014
By Prithvi Karthikeyan - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a magnificent book and absolutely hilarious -a tour de force of intellectual history featuring the ever popular Burke, Tocqueville, Publius trio so beloved of conservatives. Mansfield delves into the rest of the Western canon - Nietzsche, Hobbes, Locke, Kant, Hegel, Rousseau, Spinoza, Plato, Aristotle, Mill and my favourite - Epictetus! and unusual suspects like Mary Wollstonecraft, Betty Friedan, Germaine Greer and Naomi Wolf and nice cameos by Teddy Roosevelt and ever clever William James and other popular literature I am sure means more to Americans steeped in these memes. Mansfield is an unparalleled provocateur and his cause du jour is manliness - courage and responsibility in risky situations - and irrational manliness and the only woman he concedes as having this incontrovertible virtue is Margaret Thatcher. There is an electric quality in Mansfield's writing - it's unabashed and intellectually combative - chewing out more than it can bite! I stayed up all last night reading it as I immediately recognized that he was describing the quality that defines all the important men in my life who each make me feel so much safer and happier thanks to each of their respective manlinesses - and all of whom are too busy to read this erudite and highly amusing book as they are out in the world being manly IRL :) Mansfield inspires us to appreciate what we owe to manly heroes vilified in modernity's hegemony of rational control and his pet antagonists - feminists. I also suggest the book as a blueprint for how to deploy a liberal arts education in everyday life to dazzling effects. I will conclude with a quote from the book that is a neat direction how he needs to be read especially by his detractors (I'm looking at you Nussbaum :)

"I don't mind giving you advice but I don't want to rob you of your duty to think and your freedom to choose."
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read 9 Feb. 2017
By Dr. A. B. ONEILL - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very thought provoking! I have to confess I struggled with some parts, but overall thoroughly enjoyed the book. The message is timely and the argument the author presents is credible. Well worth a read for those trying to understand where the gender argument is going these days, and where it might go.....
5.0 out of 5 stars Read Manliness as soon as you can. 8 July 2016
By Peter Cohee - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Profoundly erudite and intellectually honest, Manliness tracks the growth of feminism -- and its goal of a gender-neutral society -- both within and against the Western tradition of political philosophy. Some books you wish you had read earlier. This is one of them. It has been out ten years now, so any longer review will be redundant.
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