Monday, February 13, 2012

Manthropology: The science of why the modern male is NOT the man he used to be

By Peter McAllister

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II

Wow!  I feel totally feminized and emasculated, and if you are a man and read this book, you cannot come away from it without feeling the same way.  One reviewer put it well: WE SUCK!  What a one-two punch in the gut McAllister delivers here.  This book is not for the feint of heart.

I enjoyed the author’s use of alliteration as he chose titles for each of his chapters: brawn, bravado, battle, balls, bards, beauty, babies, and babes.  There are 8 pages of endnotes and 14 pages of bibliography, leaving 290 pages of text.  I thought McAllister’s addition of dark-gray boxed examples were well-selected, informative, and interesting supplements to the text material.

His use of examples throughout the book is superb and easily hold readers’ attention.  How he went about selecting and then researching his comparative examples is fascinating and certainly reinforces his expertise as both a paleoanthropologist and journalist (he’s an archeologist and science writer from the University of Western Australia).  Having taught there myself some years ago, I can vouch for their high standards and academic credentials.

Now, from reading the book, you get the impression McAllister has it in for men.  That’s the basis for my “one-two punch in the gut” comment above.  If one can accept his selections from ancestorial artifacts (and some certainly may make you questions their relevance—in other words, that he selected some simply to make his point), then I think he makes a good case.  Of course, it is a case I already accept, and McAllister simply reinforces my point of view.  Modern man has gone soft!

If you are simply looking for a “smart, informative, surprising, and entertaining” (from the front flyleaf) book, then this makes a good choice.  I have to tell you, however, in advance, that some of his examples are grisly, gripping, bloody, and stomach-turning.  He minces no words (perhaps he did!), but that is truly what makes this book a good read.  I loved his sense of humor and his tongue-in-the-cheek approach.  He’s a fine writer, and this is a fine book.

Manthropology: The science of why the modern male is NOT the man he used to be can be purchased at

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