The Young Man's Guide Paperback – May 29 2008
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Mr. Alcott's work is from the heart and it is inspired by the spirit of community improvement, which is one of the fundamental prinicples he proposes ought to be included in an American male's psyche as a key motivator.
That principle still has merit, as do many of the others he advances. On the very first page of Chapter One, he defines every man's purpose in life: "to be of the greatest possible usefulness." No problem.
Those guys seem always to have been producing something. They had no TV, no iPad, Kindle, smart phone, Google search, Bing (just for comparison.) But there were, as always, distractions. Handle them.
If you are conversant with contemporary thought and practice in parenting and aware of some developmental psychology - not that the reviewer so purports - as "MyCousin Vinnie" would say, "it holds water." (Granted, Alcott's era is nothing even close to recognizably touchy-feel-y, but he loves youth and says that kids playing is an absolute must- after the work is done, of course.)
Between what Alcott reports and what the informed reader already knows of boy character building, virtually all of the history of traditional American values is within grasp.
Keep in mind that not many people were eligible to vote then. Women CEO's could be counted on the fingers of no hands. Because of those anachronisms and more, I'd bet some unfortunates today will find the book laughable, as they judge Alcott by 2010 sensibilities. That's often a mistake.