[April 20, 2019] It’s been since February when I posted a book review last and, yes, I have been remiss but unintentionally so. Fortunate for me, I live in a community with strong military veteran’s organizations, so there is always a long list of reading material … with strong recommendations. The book I’m reviewing today is by Dr. Harvey Mansfield, professor at Harvard University and a “really smart dude.” Well, not my description of this man’s intellect but let’s just leave it and say that he would be the smartest person in the room – any room – that he occupies. He thinks in ways that I don’t, and so that is why I appreciate what he writes and says. His book on the idea of manliness is a bit unique.
Professor Mansfield has written several insightful books. I recommend them all to include some of his translations. The Prince is one everyone should read.
Manliness, Harvey C. Mansfield, 2006.
This is an often overlooked book, written more than a decade ago but just a prescient then as now. Dr. Mansfield believes that the West is headed, recklessly, toward gender-neutrality without knowing what it means or what outcomes will occur. The risks, he notes, should be studied more carefully. The book is about feminism and how it has changed the world. Mansfield’s criticism (both good and bad) stems from his careful study of it as a movement. He does this by using Nietzsche, Hobbes, Locke, Kant, Hegel, Rousseau, Plato, and many more.
Dr. Mansfield is a provocateur, and his cause is manliness; which he sees as courageous and responsible in an environment of risk. To read him requires concentration and an open mind. I have spoken to two college professors who refuse even to talk to me about the book because they found it so “anti-intellectual.” That description, however, is unfair because Mansfield writes in such a clear, logical manner. It does turn some intellectuals off because Mansfield is so blunt and accurate. Professor Mansfield believes that a gender-neutral society means your duties, rights, and place in society is not determined by your gender. But the philosophy of gender neutrality means that manliness is “quaint and obsolete.” It is these very psychological qualities of courage, responsibility, and confidence that convey the good side of manliness. Manliness stands in the way of a gender-neutral society, and that is the problem Mansfield so eloquently lays out in his book.
Overall, an exceptional book and highly recommended.
To go to the full Professional Reading list, simply click on this direct link: www.theleadermaker.com/reading-list/
Side Note: Please remember and take a look at Tom Copeland’s reading blog. His website, which I highly recommend, can be found here: https://militaryreadinglists.com/map