By Jeff Robinson
Summer with its easier pace of life and vacations from work makes prime time for reading. On Tuesday, Gender Blog presented its annual reading list for women and today we do the same for men, with books in a three categories.
- Date Your Wife (Crossway) by Justin Buzzard. This is a must-read for every husband who wants his marriage to sustain that sizzle it had during those sweaty-palmed days of dating. The author provides profound insight into how to accomplish this in a theologically sound, Gospel-centered way. The book is now on sale at Amazon for $5.67 and for $5.39 in the Kindle edition, a mere pittance given the level of biblical help available in these 161 pages. Run, don’t walk, buy this book, read and implement it this summer.
- The Demise of Guys: Why Boys and Struggling and What We Can Do About It (Amazon Digital Services) by Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan. This book is available in electronic edition only. The authors provide much sociological research to validate a thesis many pastors and theologians have been known to be true for many years: “Addiction to video games and online pornography have created a generation of shy, socially awkward, emotionally removed, and risk-adverse young men who are unable (and unwilling) to navigate the complexities and risks inherent to real-life relationships, school, and employment.” While their solutions are not found in the gospel, where true healing takes place, their research and observations is compelling on how we have arrived at a critical mass with future men in our culture.
- Masculine Mandate: God’s Calling to Men (Reformation Trust) by Richard D. Phillips. While this book was published in 2010, it continues to fall into the “must read” category for men. In these pages, Phillips sets in bold relief the biblical solution to the profound issues which The Demise of Guys raises: a commitment for men to take their God-ordained places in leading wives, children and congregations. Phillips makes clear the man’s calling to genuine manhood as established in the Garden of Eden. This is an excellent book for fathers and sons to read together. Available now in the Kindle version for 99 cents from Amazon.com.
- Men of the Word: Insights for Life from Men Who Walked With God (Harvest House), edited by Nathan Busenitz with a foreword by John MacArthur. What is God’s calling for men? What character qualities does He value? What is biblical manhood and how is it cultivated? The authors offer biblical answers to these fundamental questions by examining the lives of the men of the Bible, men such as Abraham, David, Nehemiah, Paul and Timothy.
- Fathers and Sons, Stand Fast in the Way of Truth and Fathers and Sons Hold Fast in a Broken World (P&R), two volumes by Douglas Bond. These two well-written books give fathers and sons a biblical roadmap for living out authentic biblical manhood in a world that opposes it at every turn. These books were published in 2007 but if you missed them the first time, grab them and read them this summer. Bond is one of the best writers in evangelicalism.
- The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery (Aquila Polonica) by Captain Witold Pilecki. From Amazon: “In 1940, the Polish Underground wanted to know what was happening inside the recently opened Auschwitz concentration camp. Polish army officer Witold Pilecki volunteered to be arrested by the Germans and reported from inside the camp. His intelligence reports, smuggled out in 1941, were among the first eyewitness accounts of Auschwitz atrocities: the extermination of Soviet POWs, its function as a camp for Polish political prisoners, and the final solution for Jews. Pilecki received brutal treatment until he escaped in April 1943; soon after, he wrote a brief report.” This book is an excellent parable for the way in which biblical manhood functions in real life: it is willing to lay down its life for those whom it loves.
- Into Dust and Fire: Five Young Americans Who Went First to Fight the Nazi Army (NAL Hardcover) by Rachel S. Cox. Another excellent new book on the Second World War II that details the kind of courage that compels men to live for others. From Amazon: “Six months before Pearl Harbor, these courageous idealists left their promising futures behind to join the beleaguered British Army. Fighting as foreigners, they were shipped off to join the Desert Rats, the 7th Armored Division of the British Eighth Army, who were battling Field Marshal Rommel’s panzer division. The Yanks would lead anti-tank and machine-gun platoons into combat at the Second Battle of El Alamein, the twelve-day epic of tank warfare that would ultimately turn the tide for the Allies. A fitting tribute to five men whose commitment to freedom transcended national boundaries, Into Dust and Fire is a gripping true tale of idealism, courage, camaraderie, sacrifice, and heroism.”
A few new books on baseball, the summer game. Most of our readers have heard my arguments that men in America and their sons should be conversant with the great game of baseball, our nation’s great pastime. Understanding baseball is a key part of understanding America’s history since the mid-1900s. Each summer a passel of new baseball books hit the shelves. Here are a couple of new volumes on the boys of summer worth attention:
- Harmon Killebrew, Ultimate Slugger (Triumph Books) by Steve Aschburner. Never was there a man with less apt nicknames: “Killer Killbrew” and “Hammerin’ Harmon.” Quiet and dignified, Killebrew let his bat and his life speak for him. Killebrew, who died in May of 2011, hit 573 home runs, many traveling distances that seemed to deposit the ball in another zip code, and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984. Though he was a devoted Mormon, his deep integrity and conservative upbringing make him an interesting study. He modeled deep humility as a professional athlete in away uncommon to men of his giftedness. Killebrew’s mother once expressed concern to her husband that the Killebrew boys were killing the grass in the front yard with their baseball activities. Mr. Killebrew’s response was unforgettable: “Honey, we’re not raising grass, we’re raising boys.” Those words well capture the spirit of Killebrew’s manly character and career.
- Connie Mack: Grand Old Man of Baseball (Kent State) by Frederick G. Lieb. Connie Mack’s name was shortened because his real name was not one to fit comfortably on a dotted line: Cornelius McGillicuddy, Sr. Mack accomplished an amazing feat, managing the Philadelphia Athletics (a Major League Baseball team he also owned) for 50 years until age 87. Mack was the last of the managers not to wear a baseball uniform in the dugout, instead opting for a perfectly pressed suit, wing tips and gentleman’s hat. Mack was a paragon of virtue and integrity who was often accused of being a Puritan, which makes him okay in my book. Mack is one of those lost American legends every man should know about and this is a classic biography that was reintroduced into print this spring.
- You Stink! Baseball’s Terrible Teams and Pathetic Players (Kent State) by Eric J. Wittenberg and Michael Aubrecht. Baseball is a game that promotes humility because even the best teams lost 60 games per season and the best players fail 70 percent of the time. This book celebrates the lighter side of America’s pastime, an aspect of the game that once made it our country’s most popular sport. The authors do an excellent job of showing how futility is one of the most intriguing aspects of the game. The overall lesson of this book? Baseball is a humbling game, a lesson I hope my boys learn from playing the summer game.