THE MALE ATTITUDE by Charles Ferguson


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This reviewer has tried manfully to penetrate the burly, heavy-breathing prose of author Ferguson, if only to understand what thesis he's pushing. But wading through gobs of good dust jacket copy (""Although there were widespread and appalling desertions from both armies during the Civil War, the valor of the men who remained to fight its battles will be celebrated as long as words are written or melodies are made""), does dampen one's interest. That Ferguson is sincere, serious-minded and determined, and that he sports a good deal of scholarly fat under his belt as he takes the measure of man from the age of exploration to the present, can hardly be denied. What's worrisome, however, is the socio-historical structure he builds out of the following clinkers: ours is a male-oriented world; America is not now and has never been woman-dominated; man has advanced through various stages via the sea, war, finance and industry, and the new technological age. The Puritan ethos, weaponry, inventions, laws, customs--each is seen as something peculiarly male. Men have given us philosophy and theology, dramas and operas, ""have drawn and painted the pictures, seeing what the male saw and sees. They have made the estimates and appraisals and served as the sole critics of what men have done en masse."" Is this some sort of retort to Momism or Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? A notable eulogy brimming with bookish detail and many uplifting cliches. Not really to be compared or confused with Brenton's The American Male(p. 606).

Publisher: Little, Brown