Power, Pain and the Lives of Men

by Michael Kaufman

Viking hardcover, 1993, Penguin paperback,1994

Now available as a free download in PDF format!

Everywhere we turn, women are challenging men’s power and men are rethinking what it means to be men. But why is it that so many men feel powerless and alienated despite the social, economic and personal power that seems to be their birthright? In Cracking the Armour, Michael Kaufman weaves a rich and colourful narrative of men’s experiences with sexuality, pornography, violence, fatherhood, families, and friendships. He gives an account of men’s aspirations, obsessions, and concerns that is sometimes funny, often provocative, and always honest and direct. In the process, he helps us understand what is harmful to men and oppressive to women about our current notions of masculinity, and to reclaim the possibilities and joys so many men have buried in the quest for an armour-plated manhood.

Author and scholar Michael Kimmel wrote,"This rare book - honest, thoughtful, compassionate - brilliantly exposes the contradiction at the heart of our definitions of masculinity .... Michael Kaufman offers neither pop psychological bromides, mythic quests nor contrite confessions, which makes "Cracking the Armour" - at once personal and political, plain-spoken and eloquent - a revelation."

Journalist Michele Landsberg, wrote,"Women, give this book to your teenage son, to your boyfriend, to your lover - but sneak a look at it yourself, too. Not only is it appealingly readable, but it's also an unflinchingly honest dissection of the masculine mystique, from the inside. No Wagnerian 'wild man' histrionics, no defensiveness or self-pity, but lots of energetic, tender, and pro-feminist optimism about the ways in which men might change."


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