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The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies Are Harming Our Young Men Hardcover – 20 Aug 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 20 Aug 2013
£37.92 £9.89
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 269 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Rev Upd edition (20 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451644183
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451644180
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 608,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Marilyn Gardner "The Christian Science Monitor" Provocative and controversial...Sommers's voice is impassed and articulate.

Danielle Crittenden "New York Post" In Christina Hoff Sommers's splendid new book...she shows the damage that is being done to our sons by adults determined to stop them from being, well, boys.

Mary Eberstadt "The Washington Times" This book promises to launch and influence an enduring national debate....The author trains her empirical and polemical skills on an issue of demonstrable and often poignant urgency.

Richard Bernstein "The New York Times" The burden of [this] thoughtful, provocative book is that it is American boys who are in trouble, not girls. Ms. Sommers... makes these arguments persuasively and unflinchingly, with plenty of data to support them. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Christina Hoff Sommers is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise institute in Washington, D.C. She has a PhD in philosophy from Brandeis University and was formerly a professor of philosophy at Clark University. Sommers has written for numerous publications and is the author of Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women". She is married with two sons and lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Really interesting reading and gives a much different perspective to what we always hear in the news. Recommended reading for anyone who wants to know the truth, not what the media wants you to believe!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The War Against Boys" is compellingly written and well referenced. It's also been sloppily edited (with the occasional mistake cropping up in the text). This revised edition has updated some (but not all) of the dated claims in original book, and the new subtitle (blaming misguided policies rather than ideology) is far more intellectually honest than the original (incendiary) one.

Despite this being a commentary on the culture of the USA, parallels can be drawn to the UK. Sommers appraisal of Europe is (understandably) more superficial than her in depth analysis of the USA, however, and is used primarily to contrast to the States.

Essentially, however, this book is simply a rehash of Sommers' seminal work (pardon the pun), "Who Stole Femminism?". Much of the research and criticism is either derived (or copied verbatim) from this (admittedly EXCELLENT) earlier book.

In short: while Sommers makes her case persuasively, she breaks very little new ground. While I can wholeheartedly recommend "Who Stole Femminism?" to anyone, "The War Against Boys" is really only valuable to activists who genuinely care about addressing gendered inequality (and are keen to read everything they can get their hands on). If you have recently discovered Sommers (perhaps due to an online controversy or outrage) and want to get a feel for her work, then this is not the book for you. If you are a fan of Sommers and want more of the same, here it is (now in paperback).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9a5aef6c) out of 5 stars 47 reviews
61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a229f84) out of 5 stars A PRECARIOUS SITUATION 26 Aug. 2013
By Hu(man) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author writes (p. 199): "The public has given no one a mandate to pursue a policy of privileging girls." And yet, as Christina Hoff Sommers repeats in the revised edition of her 2000 book, a small group of ideological feminists have claimed that Americans should do that, and from many quarters there is evidence that they have. This "New and Revised Edition" of "THE WAR AGAINST BOYS" is a welcome return of an important book. Sommers, a philosopher by education and a mother of two boys, shows that the trend she identified in the late 1990s to see boys as defective girls and therefore somehow in need of retooling has continued, and its effects have spread. The importance of Sommers' book lies especially in pointing out the misrepresentations of fact by leading advocates of making over boyhood. She takes to task the reputation of a major research institution for having missed oversight of assertions presumably based on scientific investigation that are, in fact, wishful thinking on the part of high-profile faculty. Her target is Carol Gilligan in particular, who managed to convince important activists, journalists and others in the media about the presumed defectiveness of boys that results from the dominance of patriarchy in American society. Go to this book if you are a parent. Take it to school administrators especially if your children are in grade school but realize that contempt for men and masculinity is now pervasive in higher education as well. If you are paying $50,000+ a year for a son's education, check out what courses are being taught that are disparage the young men in class. Sommers is a feminist in the way anyone who is clear-thinking is a feminist: someone who supports women in having access to education and employment opportunities of every kind. She is, however, a potent opponent of ideological feminists (contemporary "gender equity" feminists). As Sommers points out, regardless of the claims of social constructivists, boys and girls are different, and they cannot be refashioned to feel and experience and act in ways that are not part of their disposition (her word). There are biobehavioral realities that are well-documented but simply ignored by a small group of feminists (male and female) who insist loudly that even the possibility of basic differences between the sexes exist. She is a fan of masculinity in the traditional sense. It is pretty obvious that so are MOST women, too. Sommers provides examples of schools that harm boys and schools that support them. She points out that federal government opposes many initiatives in public and private schooling that would support boys in their growing up. She notes that in Australia and the UK such efforts to do better by boys are under way, but they are nipped in the bud in the States, mostly by virtue of the threat of law suits. She points to the complicity of all three branches of the federal government in standing in the way of even trying boy-friendly practices in school. Finally, she repeats that the tendency of thinking of boys as somehow psychologically ill as a result of being raised as their bodies tell them they must experience the world must be distinguished from the consequence of real harm suffered by boys in an environment that tells them there is something wrong with them for being boys. This is an important book for speaking out on behalf of boys and cutting through the rhetoric and false claims of so-called gender specialists who have taken over academe and whose pronouncements resound in the echo chamber (her metaphor) of the media.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a2289e4) out of 5 stars Update of Christina's Classic 19 Sept. 2013
By Michael - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Brave Mrs Hoff-Sommers will go down in the history of gender science as the one who first highlighted the disadvantages boys face in modern western education. Her book was a wake up call to all those who believed in that brand of man-hating feminist ideology which deviated from the traditional women's movement, and who wondered why boys' performance at school was plumetting. Now she's updated her groundbreaking work to show why, although in other parts of the world, there have been some fundamental changes to address this problem, the US is in a rather unique situation, where any attempts at reforming this discriminatory and prejudiced educational system are stymied by self-interest groups out to protect what doesn't need protecting - the right of girls to receive a decent education.

If our boys suffer, we all suffer, including or especially girls and women. Therefore, it is in the interests of everyone that we remove prejudice from our schools, and remove the spirit of male hostility so detrimental to learning. This book is highly recommended for home readers and public libraries. It was necessary that a woman write such a book, as if any man had written it, he would immediately have been labelled a mysogynist by the misandrist organizations referred to above.
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a228924) out of 5 stars A must read for any parent of a son! 29 Aug. 2013
By Naomi B. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Synopsis: From Goodreads:

Despite popular belief, American boys tag behind girls in reading and writing ability, and they are less likely to go to college. Our young men are greatly at risk, yet the best-known studies and experts insist that it's girls who are in need of our attention. The highly publicized "girl crisis" has led to many changes in American schools, politics, and parenting...but at what cost? In this provocative book, Christina Hoff Sommers argues that our society has continued to overemphasize the troubles of girls while our boys suffer from the same self-esteem and academic problems. Boys need help, but not the sort of help they've been getting.

My rating: 4 Stars

My opinion: I couldn't believe how well documented with short and long term statistics from multiple sources, including the Brookings Institute and DOE this was. It was very clear that they author had done her homework on the topic. On that note, it was a very concise and slower read to ingest the details and statistics. It took me a good week to read a just over 200 page book d/t absorbing and cross referencing data.

While the author calls it so, I wouldn't call it misguided feminism, but an attack on our young men by feminist groups with their own agenda. Misguided infers that it was done mistakenly or with no ill intent. Author gives many direct quotes from organizations, such as the AAUW, where this is the direct intent of an unapologetic organization to sabotage the educational opportunities for males, including the demasculinization of the education of our young men or how they learn best. We continue to see examples of this EVERY DAY in media reports with no apologies by our public school systems for a zero tolerance crime policy (targeted towards males), such as the flippant use and abuse of school suspension for chewing a pop tart into a gun or the state of Florida. Really? I would hate to get shot with that thing. I may not survive!

I have read other reviews of this book that states the author doesn't take into account a "myriad" of reasons on why boys fall behind. One notes that girls participate in higher numbers or even the selection of a book for required reading. Any excuse can be given, but numbers don't lie. Furthermore, isn't this a teacher and/or school system's job? A job that given numbers isn't taken too seriously.

This book is a must read for any parent of a son. I would expect a huge number of "masked" 1 and 2 star reviews with little meat to reviews by "feminists" who are being called to the carpet on their not so subtle agenda.

Source: Simon and Schuester

Would I recommend? : To EVERY parent of a son!
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c506bb8) out of 5 stars It's about time 9 Oct. 2013
By RopeMan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bit slanted but Sommers takes apart most of the repeated misinformation from the Women's Lobby. She rightfully points out the abandonment of our young men in a frenzied effort to further the women agenda. As an educator I witness daily the lack of attention given our young men and she makes the reasons very clear.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c506894) out of 5 stars Well-researched, well-argued, well-written 5 Feb. 2014
By Dana H. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Christina Hoff Sommers makes a compelling case that the education system is harming both boys and girls. But it is harming boys more, because the replacement of academic rigor and behavior standards with self-indulgence on the one hand, and "zero-tolerance" policies on the other hand, are the opposite of what boys need to become successful adults.

There's too much good material in this book for me to touch on it all, so I will just mention one point which was new to me. It is taken for granted today that all personal troubles can be cured by talking them through. (Sommers cites Fay Weldon's term "therapism" to refer to this view.) But this is an unproven hypothesis, and boys tend to be highly resistant to this approach. In fact, there is evidence that excessive talk about one's problems is linked to anxiety and depression. Sommers writes, "Children need to be moral more than they need to be in touch with their feelings." Indeed. So there is no justification for the frequent nagging to "express their feelings" that typically reticent boys are subject to in an attempt to get them to be more like girls.

Apart from the quality of her arguments, Sommers is a pleasure to read. She makes her points forcefully but not stridently. As the parent of both a son and daughter, I found the book enormously valuable.
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