I have long been a fan of Stephen Mansfield's books. I have even had the privilege to interview him. But I have never anticipated a book as much as his latest volume, Mansfield's Book of Manly Men: An Utterly Invigorating Guide to Being Your Most Masculine Self.
His inspiration for this book was drawn from King David's deathbed instruction to his son Solomon: "I'm about to go the way of all the earth. So be strong and show yourself a man." (1 Kings 2:2). Solomon would have likely known exactly what David meant by that statement. But most men today would not because our culture has so utterly confused men about what their true role should be. Or as the author puts it:
My goal in this book is simple. I want to identify what a genuine man does - the virtures, the habits, the disciplines, the duties, the actions of true manhood - and then call men to do it. (pg. 8)
He starts out by setting out four principles that he refers to as Mansfield's Maxims:
- Manly Men Do Manly Things (pg. 21)
- Manly Men Tend Their Fields (pg. 28)
- Manly Men Build Manly Men (pg. 34)
- Manly Men Live to the Glory of God (pg. 37)
After presenting these principles, he then explores a number of virtues (such as honor, integrity, vision, etc.) that a real man should reflect in his life. With each principle there is an example from history of someone who personified that virtue in their life. This is a very useful approach as I think men tend to understand these principles much better when there is a concrete example to look upon who demonstrates these virtues. Most importantly, at the end of each chapter are a series of questions that are intended to be used for individual reflection and application of these principles.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to other men to read. In addition, if you have a son of your own this is a book you will want to read together. The questions throughout the book also would make it ideal for small group discussion.
It's time for men to step up and fulfill the role that God has for them. Thanks to Stephen Mansfield, we have a guide to show us how to do it.
Author's note: A copy of this book was provided to me by Booksneeze. No other consideration apart from the book was received in exchange for this review.