The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies Are Harming Our Young Men Hardcover – 20 Aug 2013
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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
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).
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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!
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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