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The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men Hardcover – Jun 15 2000

4.1 out of 5 stars 99 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (June 15 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684849569
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684849560
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.3 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 99 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #310,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

The author of the provocative bestseller Who Stole Feminism? returns with an equally eye-opening follow-up. "It's a bad time to be a boy in America," writes Christina Hoff Sommers. Boys are less likely than girls to go to college or do their homework. They're more likely to cheat on tests, wind up in detention, or drop out of school. Yet it's "the myth of the fragile girl," according to Sommers, that has received the lion's share of attention recently, in hot-selling books like Mary Pipher's Reviving Ophelia. When boys are discussed at all, it's in the context of how to modify their antisocial behavior--i.e., how to make them more like girls.

This book tells the story of how it has become fashionable to attribute pathology to millions of healthy male children. It is a story of how we are turning against boys and forgetting a simple truth: that the energy, competitiveness, and corporal daring of normal, decent males is responsible for much of what is right in the world. No one denies that boys' aggressive tendencies must be checked and channeled in constructive ways. Boys need discipline, respect, and moral guidance. Boys need love and tolerant understanding. They do not need to be pathologized.
Sommers eviscerates feminist scholarship by Harvard's Carol Gilligan, the American Association of University Women, and others. Hers is feisty, muscular prose and fans of Who Stole Feminism? will delight in it. "There have always been societies that favored boys over girls," she writes. "Ours may be the first to deliberately throw the gender switch. If we continue on our present course, boys will, indeed, be tomorrow's second sex." That rhetoric may err on the side of alarmism, but Sommers' ideas are full of common sense. She essentially urges parents and educators to let boys be boys, even though their "very masculinity turns out to be politically incorrect." The War on Boys is sure to set off a fiery controversy, just as Sommers' previous book did--but it should also find a big audience of readers who become fans. --John J. Miller

From Publishers Weekly

Sommers (Who Stole Feminism?) pulls no punches in this critique of the current crop of "crisis" studies about boys. Methodically analyzing and dismantling what she calls the "myth of shortchanged girls" as well as the "new and equally corrosive fiction that boys as a group are disturbed"Atheories she calls "speculative psychology"Ashe bolsters her findings with extensive footnotes and data from such sources as the U.S. Department of Education. Sommers's conclusions are compelling and deserve an unbiased hearing, particularly since they are at odds with conventional wisdom that paints girls as victimized and boys as emotionally repressed. "Routinely regarded as protosexists, potential harassers and perpetuators of gender inequity, boys live under a cloud of censure," she writes, going on to show how they are also falling behind academically in an educational system that currently devotes more attention to the needs of girls. Pointing out that "Mother Nature is not a feminist," she also dismisses the current vogue to "feminize" boys, calling social androgyny a "well-intentioned but ill-conceived reform." Instead, Sommers champions "the reality that boys and girls are different, that each sex has its distinctive strengths and graces." Sure to kick up dust in the highly charged gender debates, Sommers's book is at its best when coolly debunking theories she contends are based on distorted research and skewed data, but descends into pettiness when she indulges in mudslinging at her opponents. Perhaps the most informed study yet in this area, this engrossing book sheds light on a controversial subject. It deserves close reading by parents, educators and anyone interested in raising healthy, successful children of both sexes.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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By A Customer on Oct. 17 2005
Format: Paperback
Many of the objections to this book written here make her point for her. People object that she should focus on poor or black people etc. The fact is in every demographic group the boys are doing worse in school. A position is not refuted by saying another issue is more important. I am a male teacher and for years I have heard how girls need to be "empowered" and boys need to be changed. Well the numbers show girls have the power and all the teacher attention in schools and boys can only change so much.
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Format: Hardcover
I am happy to see that people are still commenting on this book after a number of years. I have shared it with a number of friends of various persuasions and get any number of thoughtful comments. If nothing else, Sommers, suggests that we can all make mistakes, even when we have the best intentions, and perhaps even more so when we espouse a political cause. Social scientists need to be held to account for their data, and she asks questions about much of its validity. She asks how can we better educate boys. Perhaps the greatest unanswered question to which this book led me was a policy question on how much of the traditional gender roles must we preserve and what should we attempt to modify. Putting it another way , "What's wrong with boys being boys?" And I mean that seriously as in: "What's wrong with girls being girls is that they passively set their sights too low." And we are led to agree with a final implication is that all children, boys and girls, deserve our best efforts.
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Format: Paperback
At long last, 40 years into second wave feminism, intelligent women are catching on to the fact that the male of the species is in a confused freefall. Sixty percent of North American college students are female. Projections surmise that women will be 2/3 of students on American college campuses by 2010.
Sommers points out that a pair of psychotic boys made headlines for the Columbine massacre at about the same time the U.S. girls soccer team did so for becoming international champs. Is this a coincidence, she wonders, or emblematic of how it's going for the two sexes?
The dropping percentage of males on college campuses, a plummet if one considers the last 50 years, only parallels men's growing lack of interest in churchgoing and parenting. It's about time somebody blew the whistle on this and suggested that something is wrong!
We live in a world geared to women: Schools and churches that ask us to sit still and listen rather than explore, compete, or seek adventure; a service sector economy that calls for deference and cooperation rather than energy or rivalry. Many men don't want to be Mr. Mom, our wife's junior partner in child rearing. Many men have a jazz 'em up and let em' run approach to child-rearing, which might be too hands-off for a baby, toddler, or 10-year-old but is well-suited to prurient, rambunctious, and liberty-starved adolescents. How many fathers are divorced and tangential to families by this point in their childrens' lives?
The Tyler Durden character of the 1999 movie "Fight Club" represents what is missing in the domesticated modern man: risk-taking moxie, masculine swagger. These are not trivialities. They make men vital and useful, not to mention...sexy to women. The rugged independence of the male mind has benefitted everyone.
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Format: Paperback
Fans of Ray Comfort's "You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence, But You Can't Make Him Think" will probably also enjoy "The War against Boys" by C.H. Sommers. I say this, because despite promises of an intellectually stimulating read, the book is rife with disappointing amounts of pandering to it's key audience. I have never felt like an author thought that their reader was so intellectually challenged, so much so when I was reading this. I was looking forward to this read, and did finish it, but was quite put off by the overall pettiness, and blatant intellectual dishonesty throughout the book. I enjoy a very balanced, and neutral narrative, you won't find that here. I don't expect, or want needless pandering, or gentleness when arguing against invalid points, or narratives that we have in society, but I really do expect that academics will author books with a more reasonable methodology. I want a book that when shredding through dogma, does so with cold, hard facts. There should be no leaps in logic, no anecdotes, no bizarre "gotcha!" moments. When I read a book that's goal is to debunk rhetoric, I want the author to be writing the book as if it is going to be peer reviewed, cited, and used as an authority on the matter. If you were expecting that of Sommers' "the War against Boys" you will be as disappointed as I am. In her narrative against two prime child psychologists, she sets an arbitrary bar of high standard for their research, yet does not adhere to her own standards herself. This really struck me, being that she herself works at a university. I can't imagine trying to push a review paper through with such a unbalanced narrative. Yes, she's not trying to publish a paper through peer review, but she's still a degree holder who works for a university.Read more ›
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