“Most of us [men] were raised by women,” reflects the iconic Tyler Durden in the movie Fight Club. “I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer we need.” Around the time that he was born, a significant number of women were deciding that men weren’t the answer—which led to large numbers of Tyler’s generation being brought up without fathers. And that leads to the oft-remarked phenomenon of the couch-potato man-child, thumbs twitching over his PlayStation. It’s a disturbing trend, especially to social observers like William Bennett.

Bennett’s latest book, patterned on his classic Book of Virtues, is titled The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood. It’s obviously intended as a guide to pre-men, a selection of instructional and inspirational passages. “Why Men Are in Trouble,” an opinion piece for CNN, explains why he wrote it: “For the first time in history, women are better-educated, more ambitious and arguably more successful than men. … We celebrate the ascension of women but what will we do about what appears to be the very real decline of the other sex?”

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