The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood
Bound so as to unite both old and new, The Book of Man is truly an intergenerational book. Rough-cut pages recall bygone days while a slick cover and interior graphics meld a modern feel with the reminiscence of old cartography. The one thing missing to complete this ambiance would be a book ribbon to facilitate later recovery of some gem of wisdom.
Yes, I would call William Bennett’s Book of Man wise, since it brings together an astute collection of stories, personal profiles, poetry, and reflections of ages past and present. The purpose of this book’s over five hundred pages is to “explore and explain what it means to be a man.” Indeed, the book is an exploration. I think it fulfills this purpose best. Instead of just laying out some unreal paradigm for manhood,Bennett presents the thoughts of a wide variety of individuals from diverse times and places. These individuals all teach something about what it is to be a man and the author masterfully frames their lessons with his own reflections and introductions. Not only does Bennett skillfully present each person’s thought, he also puts them in the context of man in war, at work, at play, in the polis, with woman and children, in prayer in reflection, and finally at his last end.
The Book of Man is a beautiful work, both to read and behold.