The Dude’s Guide To Manhood: Finding True Manliness In A World Of Counterfeits, by Darrin Patrick
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.]
This book is certainly not unique in exploring the difficulties of ‘contemporary’ manhood , but there are some things that make this book distinctive and particularly excellent. For one, the author manages to keep a lot of very fine balances. For the most part, for example, the book makes a strong appeal to a macho sensibility by its frequent references to sports (including two short forewords, one by Duke Dynasty producer Willie Robertson, and the other by St. Louis running back Steven Jackson), which makes sense, since the author is a chaplain for the St. Louis Cardinals. However, there is more to the book than mere macho posturing, as the author feels entirely comfortable dealing in sound biblical exegesis (without coming off as too preachy) and knowledgeable in culture as well as Greek.
The organization of this book is straightforward and also powerful, and also balanced between a variety of concerns. The author introduces by talking about the fact that most men are without maps because of their upbringing, and the general decline of society. The twelve chapters of the book look at how men are supposed to be determined, coachable, disciplined, working, content, devoted, loving to their family, connected (with other men), emotional (but not ruled by emotion), fighting (in the right arenas), heroic, and forgiven. Many of these aspects of manhood are in tension with each other, and can suffer extremes on all sides, but this book manages to steer a very good balance in a life that is modeled after Jesus Christ as our hero. The book itself manages to even comment on the problem of lust and pornography in ways that make this book a companion piece to another book I read recently that discussed many of the same studies and phenomena from the point of view of protecting young women rather than seeking to guide men .
It would appear that the target audience of this book is made up of either men who are not really settled into their manhood in their 20’s and 30’s with its focus on responsibility and contentment without settling, or men who are married in their 30’s or 40’s who need encouragement not to destroy their families through being workaholics who are emotionally remote or unfaithful. This is a fantastic book in being real, honest, as well as encouraging. It urges personal responsibility as well as a network of friends (and fellow brethren) who can both encourage us and hold us accountable. The existence of this book, and others like it, is a good sign that at least a few authors, and hopefully a wide and appreciate audience of men, are willing to struggle with what it takes to be men of character and help overcome the corruption of the world. This corruption is not an easy matter to overcome, but hopefully books like this can help provide the spur that men need to develop their interior character and not merely focus on the external appearance of manhood.
 See, for example: