I do not recommend reading Manliness. I could stop there, and I wouldn't feel as if I'd done the book a disservice. But to make sure readers don't waste their time and money, I'll provide an overview that deals with some of Harvey Mansfield's apparent concerns in Part I of this review. In Parts II and III, I raise and provide tentative answers to questions far more important than Mansfield's muddled and passionless plea for the status quo. Contrary to what Mansfield sometimes implies, but never really commits to, feminism has been good, not bad, for society. Feminist politics has worked and continues to work a mostly wonderful revolution in the way we live our lives and choose our aspirations. But most feminist theories that reject gender essentialism have been fundamentally problematized--feminist theory is troubled. Mansfield appears to posit this trouble as an inevitable slide toward nihilism, but he is off the mark.

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