Cover: Sexual Violence and American Manhood, from Harvard University PressCover: Sexual Violence and American Manhood in HARDCOVER

Sexual Violence and American Manhood

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Product Details


$58.50 • £46.95 • €52.50

ISBN 9780674009172

Publication Date: 11/22/2002


272 pages

5-1/2 x 8 inches


[Herbert] exposes the myths that allow men to justify sexual domination, whether it takes the form of physical abuse or exclusion from decision-making.—Leon Howell, The Christian Century

Herbert mines American literature and film, as well as his own experience, to weave a disturbing, but finally hopeful volume about the shaping of American codes of masculinity.—Rosemary Ruether, National Catholic Reporter

Herbert traces the shifting ideologies that have created and justified the sexually abusive behavior of men in 19th-and 20th century America, mainly through an examination of literary texts… His conclusions about the past and present culture of misogyny in America are as convincing as they are sobering, but Herbert sounds a hopeful note throughout, believing that Americans can draw on their democratic traditions to achieve more egalitarian sexual relations. His brave, highly personal prologue and epilogue serve to humanize the author… Highly recommended.—Andrew Brodie Smith, Library Journal

Herbert demonstrates the centrality of violence to the developing culture of democratic manhood. The book’s power comes in the lean simplicity and directness of its argument, and its framing personal reflections that document the author’s own willingness to apply this analysis to himself and invite readers to see the possibilities of such self-analysis. Sexual Violence also demonstrates Walt Herbert’s absolute passion for social change, for the idea that people can, by struggling courageously with their own flaws and demons, improve their own lives and American democratic practice.—Dana Nelson, author of National Manhood

This is a passionate and provocative book, more polemical sketch than in-depth scholarly study, but powerfully urgent in those terms. It literary analyses are first rate, uncommonly pithy and wide-ranging. An important and unusually intimate book.—David Leverenz, author of Manhood and the American Renaissance

This book is hopeful and sympathetic. Herbert’s argument is measured, nuanced, and patient. His discussion of pornographic manhood is insightful and his outstanding observations about martial rape advance the issue.—Andrea Dworkin, author and editor of many works including In Harm’s Way, co-edited with Catharine A. MacKinnon

Thread by thread, Walter Herbert reveals the knot conjoining masculinity, sexuality, and violence. Compelling, carefully reasoned, and large in scope, the book is ambitious—and it delivers. Using literature, popular culture, and, most movingly, his own story, Herbert authoritatively places sexualized violence in a particular American context. This is an important work that should be read, not only by historians, psychologists, and sociologists, but by anyone desiring a better understanding of our current world, or anyone dreaming of a better one.—Terrence Real, author of How Can I Get Through to You: Reconnecting Men and Women and I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression

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