Metaxas presents profiles of seven men he considers manly exemplars.
The great slide into unmanliness, writes Metaxas (Bonhoeffer, 2010, etc.), began with the Vietnam War and the presidency of Richard Nixon, a time of ignorance, venality and shame, when many called nearly all authority into question. When the young turned to role models, they were more likely Cheech and Chong than Westmoreland and McNamara. But do we really have to settle for the macho meatheads or the “emasculated...pretend[ing] that there is no real difference between men and women,” asks the author? Certainly not, he writes, for “God’s idea of manhood is something else entirely”—no “loudmouthed bullies or soft, emasculated pseudo-men,” but strong, loving, chivalrous, service-oriented men who use authority for leadership, not personal advancement. Jesus lords over this book—“My own personal greatest role model is Jesus”—but Metaxas has chosen another seven men who surrendered themselves to a high purpose and sacrificed to do the right thing. There is a goodly measure of zeal in Metaxas’ style, and Jesus shares the credit with the acts of the seven men: George Washington, who could have been king but declined, and William Wilberforce, for his abolitionist stance and fights against child labor, alcoholism and animal cruelty in the 19th century. The author also includes Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, Pope John Paul II and, less convincingly, Charles Colson, perhaps only due to the fact that he was such an unsavory character before he found his calling in prison.
Metaxas gives the men their rightful due without lapsing into hagiography.