The Bro­ken Amer­i­can Male: and How to Fix Him

Rab­bi Shmu­ley Boteach
  • Review
By – January 26, 2012

For men who often find them­selves pilot­ing a car­load of chil­dren in a mini­van, Rab­bi Shmu­ley Boteach invites us all to sit up with pride in the driver’s seat.

In the first half of the book, Rab­bi Boteach makes broad (and some­times ques­tion­able) gen­er­al­iza­tions that Amer­i­can men hide their emo­tions in the pur­suit of mas­culin­i­ty and mate­r­i­al suc­cess. He becomes more com­pelling when he draws anec­dotes from his expe­ri­ence as a uni­ver­si­ty chap­lain, radio host, and par­ent, prais­ing the aver­age Amer­i­can male as a hero, role mod­el, and bread-win­ner of courage and ded­i­ca­tion to family. 

Describ­ing the love­less and sex­less mar­riages of peo­ple whom he has coun­seled, Rab­bi Boteach claims that Amer­i­can women are bro­ken too, busy pur­su­ing thin bod­ies while feel­ing lone­ly in the com­pa­ny of so many emo­tion­al­ly dis­tant and inse­cure men. Boteach’s ref­er­ences to Jew­ish sources of wis­dom enrich the book as he chal­lenges read­ers to replace their ambi­tion for wealth and fame with ambi­tion to serve God with humil­i­ty. Accord­ing to Boteach, if men can accept their own aging bod­ies, focus less on them­selves while giv­ing more to oth­ers, count­less mar­riages will be saved and suc­cess will have a deep­er meaning.

Judd Kruger Lev­ingston, Ph.D. and rab­bi, serves as Direc­tor of Jew­ish Stud­ies at Jack M. Bar­rack Hebrew Acad­e­my in the Philadel­phia area. Lev­ingston is the author of Sow­ing the Seeds of Char­ac­ter: The Moral Edu­ca­tion of Ado­les­cents in Pub­lic and Pri­vate Schools (Praeger, 2009).

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