THE PASSIONS OF MEN: Work and Love in the Age of Stress by Mark Hunter

THE PASSIONS OF MEN: Work and Love in the Age of Stress

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A thoughtful discussion of men who grew up believing that men and women were different, and who were then taught in the feminist and postfeminist eras that they were not. Hunter, using a subjective journalism technique based as much on his own experience as on those of the 40 men he interviewed, begins with a discussion of why we feel such stress in our daily lives. He examines men's attitudes toward work and finds ambivalence. As much as men complain about having still to be the primary breadwinner, they are more comfortable in that role than in the intimate lives of their families, primarily because men feel morally unworthy of the women they love, and thus work hard to compensate for those feelings. In the area of male-female relationships, less has changed within men than the pop press likes to tell us: men still feel that they need women to take care of them, and are frightened that the reverse is no longer true. Such feelings make men terrified of commitment and of the women who love them. ""It's a tough time to be a man, or a woman living in a man's world,"" comments Hunter. Perhaps the most revealing part of the book is Hunter's analysis of the ""New Man's"" relationship with his father. Rather than bemoan the fact that fathers have not passed on whatever sons thought they should, the New Man must reconsider what fathers have given--if not a sense of love, then certainly a sense of work, no small thing. The New Man must also confess what the sons did in the age of The Pill: flaunt the fact that they had for the asking what their fathers had to earn, then demand that fathers still protect them by remaining faithful to their mothers, and becoming furious when fathers failed them. Forthcoming about his long relationship with one of the leaders of the feminist movement, yet curiously reticent about his current marriage to another woman, Hunter shares experiences that many men and women will understand in a deep way. Well-written, more accessible than Astrachan's How Men Feel, 1986, this book addresses with intelligence and insight, and from a man's point of view, many of the same issues that women have been exploring for years.

Pub Date: May 26th, 1988
Publisher: Putnam