The Book of Man Book Review by ChristineMM


Title: The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood

Author: William Bennett (editor)

Publication: Thomas Nelson, 2011

My Star Rating: 4 stars out of 5: I Love It

Summary Statement: Collection of Short Readings About Manhood

I admired Bennett's previous books for reading aloud to children so I was curious about his latest collection of readings for boys about what it is like to be a man.

I assumed this book was for preteens and teens to read to themselves. It certainly could teach a young man a lot if someone actually read the whole book. As I read it I realized that sadly, my own boys aged 13 and almost 16 would not be interested in reading this book. Although our family personally agrees with these values it reads as preachy. If there is one thing that my teenaged sons dislike is being preached at by an adult, or feeling that someone is trying to put notions into their head (even if they agree with what is being said). My boys are independent thinkers who don't want to be dictated to, they would rather learn from their own experiences and The School of Hard Knocks. I wish they would just listen to a story, feel the inspiration, learn the moral lesson and immediately apply it to their lives, but they do not.

So, I now think that these readings would actually make good read-alouds for boys starting at a young age. What age? Whatever age they are able to find these readings interesting and tolerable. Ideally I can imagine my husband reading these to our young sons and then having a short discussion afterwards. Too bad this was published too late for that.

To get a flavor for what this book is, imagine a wise middle aged or older man sitting down to share nuggets of wisdom that they wish that younger men could know. That's what this book is, a lot of those stories and snippets of speeches. Other selections include inspirational poems or stories or interviews. The book is divided into sections about man and the family, man in the polis, man in work, man in sport and play and man in prayer. There are about 80 pages per section and the book is a hefty 550 pages long. It is a durable hardcover book with nicely edged paper.

I rate this book 4 stars = I Like It. For me this book seems like a great collection on a theme, it certainly must have been hard work collecting these to put into one volume. I think it is a good book that meshes with our family's worldview so I like it, even though right now my own sons would not care to read it.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from for the purpose of reviewing it for their Vine program. I was not under obligation to review it favorably or to blog it. I was not paid for this service.

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