Oct 01, thethousanderclub rated it really liked it Fatherless America is one of the most important books I have read in years. Although it was written and published over twenty years ago, its commentary and warnings feel not only prescient but present and painful. Fatherless America is not only a review Fatherless America is one of the most important books I have read in years. Admittedly, I have a unique interest in topics related to masculinity, manhood, fatherhood, and the dynamics of the family. Previous books I have read have touched on these topics, such as: Manliness and Manning Up.
|Published (Last):||9 June 2006|
|PDF File Size:||5.71 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||6.11 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Oct 01, thethousanderclub rated it really liked it Fatherless America is one of the most important books I have read in years. Although it was written and published over twenty years ago, its commentary and warnings feel not only prescient but present and painful. Fatherless America is not only a review Fatherless America is one of the most important books I have read in years. Admittedly, I have a unique interest in topics related to masculinity, manhood, fatherhood, and the dynamics of the family.
Previous books I have read have touched on these topics, such as: Manliness and Manning Up. In fact, even works of fiction have provided insight into this personal interest—books like Gates of Fire and The Illiad. Our society is inundated with the ideas of gender neutrality. In fact, masculinity in particular has been singled out as something to avoid, to correct, and to expunge. One of the great ironies of feminism is that as women have achieved greater autonomy in their quest against masculinity and patriarchy, they have adopted more and more masculine behaviors and attitudes.
In our efforts to find greater equality among the sexes, have we ignored a huge amount of unintended consequences? Fatherless America is really a book about ideas. The idea of fatherhood has been transmogrified, argues Blankenhorn. Society has, incrementally and often imperceptibly, changed the idea of fatherhood, and in so doing has changed the very dynamic of our culture and society. They are, without a doubt, the biggest losers in our quest to change traditional mores and expectations related to marriage and fatherhood.
In many ways Fatherless America is a response and rejoinder against the mounting collection of social research which either diminishes the role of fathers or ignores them altogether. In my own reading I have consistently been surprised by the myopia of academics and writers when writing about the family; or, rather, the ignoring of family.
Blankenhorn expertly calls out this bias in the research. This blind spot in social and academic research, I believe, causes so many well-intentioned and extremely intelligent people to miss the mark when it comes to child well-being and human thriving.
The traditional family cannot be completely untethered from gender roles, which is anathema to many scholars. Gender neutrality as a principle appears to override all of other principles and considerations, and society is left holding a really nasty bag of consequences.
Fatherless America is a contrarian book. Another great example of a contrarian book is Life at the Bottom; I highly recommend it. It clashes harshly with a gender-neutral society. It heralds the attributes of masculinity rather than decry them, and asserts that fatherhood is the most powerful construct to harness the natural impulses of men. I think most Americans would agree the flight of fathers from their children is a bad thing.
Blankenhorn makes an extremely compelling case that some of our most vexing, dreadful, and recalcitrant societal problems could be solved by a restoration of the idea of fatherhood and the return of fathers.
Ideas, asserts the author, made them and helped them leave, ideas can bring them back. I agree.
Fatherlessness is now approaching a rough parity with fatherhood as a defining feature of American childhood. This fact is so disturbing that many people prefer to ignore it. Our public debate on the family, for example, focuses almost exclusively on the roles of women and the plight of children, as if the male role in family life were somehow secondary or even irrelevant. We disguise the sex of the problem with prim euphemisms. We say "single parent homes," when we mean mothers raising children without fathers. We speak of "parenting" as if motherhood and fatherhood were a set of gender-neutral "skills", like plumbing. In short, we turn fatherlessness into a problem with no name.
Fatherless America, by David Blankenhorn
Basic Books. With about half of all marriages in the U. More than a few analysts attribute the GOP election sweep in to popular dismay over the cultural and institutional decay signified by ephemeral families and surging illegitimacy rates. Welfare reform has reached the top of our domestic-policy priorities not because our current arrangements are all that expensive but because changing the rules is seen as a way to get people to alter their behavior, to take responsibility for their children, and not to have children they cannot or will not look after. The budget deficit may benefit from such reforms, but it is the morals deficit that really alarms us.
Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem
Schwarzenegger testimony[ edit ] Blankenhorn was presented to the court as an expert witness in Perry v. Schwarzenegger by the proponents of California Proposition 8 , a constitutional amendment restricting marriage to the union of opposite-sex couples. He — one man — marries one woman. Some of the benefits with which he did agree included that it would: increase the proportion of gays and lesbians in stable, committed relationships; lead to higher living standards for same-sex couples ; lead to fewer children growing up in state institutions and more growing up in loving adoptive and foster families; decrease the amount of anti-gay prejudice and hate crimes ; and decrease the number of those warily viewed as "other" in society, further reaching the American ideal. He noted that the opposition voiced in his book and in his trial testimony was founded in a belief "that children have the right, insofar as society makes it possible, to know and to be cared for by the two parents who brought them into this world", a right that he points out is guaranteed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. He cites "the equal dignity of homosexual love", "comity", and "respect for an emerging consensus" as positive reasons for his now supporting same-sex marriage.