An intriguing look into the male psyche.




A collection of interviews of men, conducted by a woman, about what it means to be male in today’s world.

Poet Barry (Home, 2007) writes that she’s always been “mystified by much of [men’s] behavior.” She says that she fell deeply in love with a man when she was in her 50s, but she often found him emotionally inscrutable—an exasperating experience that inspired her to further interrogate the nature of masculinity and its demands. She started by interviewing men in midlife, then interviewed boys and male subjects in their twilight years. All in all, she talked with more than 80 people, ranging in age from 9 to 94. Her sample is remarkably diverse—straight, gay, transgendered; white, African-American, Latino, Asian-American—with people from a variety of different religions, educational backgrounds, and careers. Barry says that she selected responses that displayed the most vulnerability, which is an abiding theme of the book; sometimes she presents the responses as easily digestible sound bites and other times, as longer essays. Along the way, she addresses boyhood, violence, sex, suicide, fatherhood, and fidelity, just to name a few major concepts. Barry comes to appreciate the extent to which cultural expectations shape and limit a man’s search for identity— including some that she says are set by women. The author seems to have a special talent for extracting candor from her subjects—the confessional transparency of her results is as astonishing as it is moving. The breadth of the interviews is also remarkable; one gets the feeling that the book not only covers the male perspective, but much of the full spectrum of the human experience. The author’s own contributions are thoughtful and elegantly expressed, evincing a motivation that goes beyond simple curiosity: “This inquiry was born of heartache. The sorrow of not knowing how to reach another when this is so much our common human longing. I wanted to keep my heart and mind open.”

An intriguing look into the male psyche.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-692-59254-0

Page Count: 356

Publisher: Phoenix Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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