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Stiffed
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One of the most talked-about books of last year, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Backlash now explores the collapse of traditional masculinity that has left men feeling betrayed. With Backlash in 1991, Susan Faludi broke new ground when she put her finger directly on the problem bedeviling women, and the light of recognition dawned on millions of her readers: what's making women miserable isn't something they're doing to themselves in the name of independence. It's something our society is doing to women. The book was nothing less than a landmark. Now in Stiffed, the author turns her attention to the masculinity crisis plaguing our culture at the end of the '90s, an era of massive layoffs, "Angry White Male" politics, and Million Man marches. As much as the culture wants to proclaim that men are made miserable--or brutal or violent or irresponsible--by their inner nature and their hormones, Faludi finds that even in the world they supposedly own and run, men are at the mercy of cultural forces that disfigure their lives and destroy their chance at happiness. As traditional masculinity continues to collapse, the once-valued male attributes of craft, loyalty, and social utility are no longer honored, much less rewarded. Faludi's journey through the modern masculine landscape takes her into the lives of individual men whose accounts reveal the heart of the male dilemma. Stiffed brings us into the world of industrial workers, sports fans, combat veterans, evangelical husbands, militiamen, astronauts, and troubled "bad" boys--whose sense that they've lost their skills, jobs, civic roles, wives, teams, and a secure future is only one symptom of a larger and historic betrayal.
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"Susan Faludi's "Backlash . . .[is] the most important book on women in recent decades . . . "Stiffed is even better than "Backlash. It is a significant and serious work."-- "The New York Review of Books""Faludi masterfully weaves larger essays with case histories and personality profiles. She connects the general to the specific and enlivens her argument with a host of haunted voices."-- "The Washington Post Book World"A feminist and proud of it, Susan Faludi began the remarkable book "Stiffed seven years ago . . . But if feminism is Faludi's lens and compass, journalism is her splendid trade. She listens like a tuning fork, and picks up unseen vibrations . . . Faludi has talked to hundreds of men. They either don't know or don't care that she's a famous feminist. They need to talk to a woman . . . Her ear knows how to listen; her heart is made of sympathy; her mind is always changing; she wants to change their world. They've been cheated--of heroic roles, meaningful work, job security, wifely adoration, mastery of the universe, self-respect and the big score. Somehow somwhere a promise was made and then betrayed. By whom? . . . There isn't a subject she touches on--from the space program to Tailhook to Rodney King to Si Newhouse--that she doesn't illuminate in prose as graceful as a gazelle, with statistics that startle us into sentinence. There isn't an Angry White Male she encounters who won't be heard out respectfully almost groomed for nuance and clues. And there's not a jot of jargon in the whole brilliant book . . . "-- John Leonard, "New York Newsday""[Stiffed] is the product of six years of aggressive reporting and an admirable knack for bringing the results to life. No onewill ever put this book down for lack of vivid scene setting or compassionate observation."-- "The New York Times Book Review"In "Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man, Faludi has issued a groundbreaking, 600 page treatise that shines feminism's insights into various corners of masculinity in a way that hasn't been done before . . . To all these boys and men [Faludi] lends a careful and sympathetic ear . . . "Stiffed is eye-opening enough to change the way we understand each day's news. While perhaps no one can fully answer that new question--What do men want?--Faludi has at least had the nerve and intelligence to ask it in a provacative way."-- "The Boston Sunday Globe""Stiffed is not only a model of closely reasoned arguments for the betrayal of the American male in this century, but a work of astonishing compassion . . . What separates Faludi's work from so many similar critiques of popular culture is precisely the length and breadth of her analysis. She's unwilling . . . to give a phenomenon a cursory analysis and then wax excessively about it, guided by nothing more than uninformed opinion . . . "Stiffed is a challenging book . . . it issues a dare for both men and women who've long been dunned into passivity to do something significant to change their lives, to reject the values of a society that would prefer for them to seek easy answers in consumerism and a cult of superficial appearances."-- "Seattle Weekly"The worst thing about "Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man is that you immediately want to run around grabbing people by the lapels and beseeching them, "Read this book! Now! I've got to talk about it . . . "-- "The San Diego Union Tribune"Faludi's insightfulpremise is that men of the 90's are indeed betrayed, helpless in the path of cultural forces destroying their manhood. In this monumental and surprising book, sure to make a tremendous impact on thoughtful people, she overlooks no part of the national landscape. With myriad on-the-spot interviews and voluminous research . . . she presents vivid and tragic pictures of male malaise . . . The serious ideas Faludi poses about the cultural forces that damage men are worth pondering . . . As in her Pulitzer-Prize-winning "Backlash, Faludi accuses society, and documents her claims. Read "Stiffed. You'll never forget it."-- Harriete Behringer""Stiffed is a tour de force of reportage, a remarkable travelogue through American maleness in all its forms . . . Along the way, [Faludi] offers penetrating insights and sharp analyses in highly readable and engaging prose . . . Faludi gained remarkable access to men who might have been secretive. The resulting portrayals are intimate, poignant and sometimes funny . . . It is a sympathetic account of the lives of men who have been tossed about by forces beyond their control . . . Faludi's book is a provacative reminder that men and women are struggling in the aftershocks of seismic cultural shifts."-- "The Atlanta Journal Constitution""Stiffed is a brilliant, important book . . . Faludi's reportorial and literary skills unfold with breathtaking confidence and beauty. These men talk to her as they have probably never talked in their lives before, and the rich and intricate tapestry she weaves from their stories is enough to make one rethink our entire Western value system . . . She goes a long way toward eliminating the black and white, good and evil, maleand female polarities that have riven the sexes in the past three decades . . . Her men have much to say, and in Faludi they found their dream woman: one who listens, and who understands."-- "Time

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