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By William Pollack, Ph.D.
with Todd Shuster

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Publishers Weekly Forecasts Review
(June, 2000)

William S. Pollack, with Todd Shuster. Random
(224p) ISBN 0-679-46299-6

Drawing on interviews with young men across the country, Harvard clinical psychologist Pollack presents a candid, troubling and occasionally humorous snapshot of contemporary American boyhood in this follow-up and companion to his bestselling Real Boys. Contextualizing young men's comments on their loneliness, depression, fear, anger and frustration, as well as their hopes and joys, within his broader research, Pollack illustrates what he views as the straitjacket of the "Boy Code." This false machismo is perpetuated, he says, by our country's "oppressive boyhood culture," a plague of homophobia and what he calls the "major national crisis" of suicide (which has tripled since 1970 for adolescent boys ages 15-19). Thematic chapters cover such topics as friendship, sex, spirituality and renewal, parents, divorce, sports, violence and more. In one of the most deeply disturbing and moving chapters, Pollack talks to boys in Littleton, Colo., many of them survivors of the Columbine High School massacre.

Yet his message is hopeful: the conditions are right, he believes, "to give America's boys complete emotional freedom, to offer them the deep human understanding they desire and so richly deserve." To this end, he outlines a 15-step program for mentoring boys and redefining boyhood, from creating safe, "shame-free" havens where they can open up to those who care about them, to bully-proofing neighborhoods and schools and encouraging creative expression and spiritual connections. Practical and forceful, this is an important contribution to the growing body of commentary on helping boys navigate the rocky road to manhood. Agent, Lane Zachary; 13-city tour.

[Titles marked with a * represent starred reviews. Starred PW reviews designate books of unusual interest and merit.]

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