By Stephen Mansfield
Over the last few years I’ve read several books on “what it means to be a man.” Some have been good and some not so much. Mansfield’s is easily my favorite.
I chose to read this book because I read Mansfield’s The Search for God and Guinness a few years ago. It was one of the most interesting and well written history books I’d read, and it’s one that I’ve thought back on often since then. So I was eager to read Mansfield’s newest, and it didn’t disappoint.
Mr. Mansfield’s book does not promote the stereotype of a “manly man.” There’s no praise for the sexist, domineering, loud, or brawling. Instead, the characteristics of manliness Mr. Mansfield encourages are humility, thoughtfulness, self-sacrifice, integrity… There’s nothing upheld in this book that my wife or mother wouldn’t support, or that my children wouldn’t benefit from.
Mansfield introduces us to his four “Manly Maxim’s” early on:
“Manly men do manly things,”
“Manly men tend their fields,” (after reading this one I fixed that broken ceiling fan that I had put off)
“Manly men build manly men,” and
“Manly men live to the glory of God.”
These maxims are explored, and readers are given examples of men from the past who have exemplified the manly virtues. We read of Winston Churchill, Booker T. Washington, Rudyard Kipling, and others worthy of study. Mansfield does not paint a perfect picture of these men. He points out their flaws—sometimes major flaws—but shows how they overcame them, just as we can.
Reading this book has caused me to think deeply about my life. It encourages me to be a better husband, father, friend, and member of the community. I hope to instill these virtues in my own son and the other young men in my life, and I’ll definitely recommend this book to them.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.