How the Script for Masculinity Turned Toxic--and How to Fix It
"Why Can't We Hate Men?" asks a headline in the Washington Post. A trendy hashtag is #KillAllMen. Books are sold titled I Hate Men, No Good Men, and Are Men Necessary?
How did an ideology arise that condemns masculinity as dangerous and destructive?
Bestselling author Nancy Pearcey has a knack for tackling the tough issues of our day. A former agnostic, Pearcey was hailed in The Economist as "America's pre-eminent evangelical Protestant female intellectual." In this book, she takes readers on a fascinating romp through American history to discover how the secular script for masculinity turned toxic--and what action we can take to fix it.
We often hear that Exhibit A of toxic behavior is evangelical Christian men. But the social sciences tell a very different story. Studies find that family men who attend church regularly test out as the most loving husbands and the most engaged fathers. They have the lowest rate of divorce and--here's the real stunner--the lowest rate of domestic violence of any group in America.
The sociological facts explode anti-male stereotypes and show that classic Christianity has the power to overcome toxic behavior and reconcile the sexes. That's a finding that has stood up to rigorous empirical testing.
This book will equip thinkers and activists to challenge politically correct ideology and bring an evidence-based message of healing into the public square.
Hardcover, 352 pages
Publication Date: June 27, 2023
"Nancy Pearcey has written the definitive book on the subject of masculinity for our time. With an extraordinary overview of the many trends--historical and otherwise--that have brought us to our current tragic confusion on the subject, she masterfully and compellingly weaves as true and accurate a picture as imaginable on this most vital of subjects. In so doing she provides great clarity and hope, pointing the way forward. A magnificent achievement."
Eric Metaxas, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther, Is Atheism Dead?, and Letter to the American Church; host of Socrates in the City and The Eric Metaxas Show
"Nancy Pearcey has done it again. In this timely and insightful book, she argues that the problem today is not masculinity itself but a secular view of masculinity that has replaced the biblical concept of manhood. Pearcey offers a historical look at how we lost it and a road map for recovery. So much is at stake. We must take The Toxic War on Masculinity to heart."
Sean McDowell, professor at Biola University; cohost of the Thinking Biblically podcast; author of twenty books, including Chasing Love
"No one weaves together theology, philosophy, data, and storytelling like Nancy Pearcey. The Toxic War on Masculinity will hook you from page one, and you will finish equipped to contend with today's warped view of gender and its insidious attack on men."
Allie Beth Stuckey, host of the Relatable podcast
"As always, I am in awe of Nancy Pearcey's research--from Harriet Beecher Stowe to how Romans really treated women 2,000 years ago. And so much history of American manhood from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that I never knew. It's sobering to hear how old the battle of the sexes really is."
Julia Duin, Newsweek contributing editor/religion
"Sadly, our culture is confused about what it means to be a man. To some, the idea that manhood can have any objective meaning, grounded in Scripture, is seen as absurd and offensive. In The Toxic War on Masculinity, Pearcey marries data with real-life stories, giving a clear and thorough apologetic for why returning to biblical standards for manhood will help us to honor the distinct qualities of men and bring clarity amidst confusion."
Monique Duson, president and cofounder of Center for Biblical Unity
"Nancy Pearcey writes with a sharp pen and glowing ink as she explores the depths of the disconnect that has happened to the reputation of Christian men. She is fair, insightful, and scholarly as she addresses the bad rap often thrown their way, but she takes no prisoners when it comes to exposing domestic abuse that can be hidden behind church doors."
Jan Silvious, author of Fool-Proofing Your Life; cohost with Kay Arthur of Precept Ministries' radio program, Precept Live with Kay and Jan
"The Toxic War on Masculinity is the very book we need right now. The world, and far too much of the church, are confused on the question of our sexual natures in general, and manhood in particular. Nancy Pearcey provides the decisive defense of masculinity rightly understood--against distortions to the left and the right. She shows why Christianity not only gives the best account of manhood but also serves to form the sort of men the world and families need. Everyone should read--indeed, study--this book."
Jay Richards, director of DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family; the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation
"Nancy Pearcey has written yet another thoughtful, well-researched, nuanced, and eminently readable book. Challenging the prevailing notions of masculinity, Pearcey sets out an integrated vision rooted in Scripture and buttressed with social science literature--one that affirms men and women and departs from the toxic paradigms of the left and the right. This is an excellent book well worth your time."
Bill Wichterman, president of the board of Faith and Law, a Capitol Hill organization
"Nancy Pearcey has a knack for tackling some of the most daunting problems of our day. In her new book on masculinity and fatherhood, she challenges the false secular narratives about men and their roles. Then she astutely explains historically how men have become alienated from their families. Finally, she calls on Christian men to deny themselves, so they can manifest love and servanthood. This book is a powerful antidote to the 'toxic masculinity' that is so pervasive in our society."
Richard Weikart, Department of History, California State Univ., Stanislaus; author of Darwinian Racism and The Death of Humanity
"I founded an organization that defends children's right to their mother and father, which is difficult in a culture that views fathers as optional. But while culture is confused about the importance of men, children are not. Whether across the room or across the world, children long for love and connection from the man who gave them life. The Toxic War on Masculinity spells out why the children are right and our culture is wrong."
Katy Faust, founder and director of Them Before Us
"Nancy Pearcey's book provides a meticulously researched and elegantly argued analysis of the origin of 'toxic masculinity.' All thinking Christians will want to read this book."
Rosaria Butterfield, author of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert
"The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes is an important and timely book. By recognizing and describing the consequences of decoupling the two competing versions of masculinity--the Good Man versus the 'Real' Man--Nancy Pearcey presents a version of manhood that truly reflects the image of God."
Christine Caine, founder of A21 and Propel Women
"Nancy Pearcey gives a good survey of the changing ideals of masculinity in American culture. She documents the beneficial and healing effect that observant evangelical Protestantism has on men, on ideals of masculinity, and on family life. She also confronts the abuse that occurs even within Christian families and advises on how to deal with it."
Leon Podles, author of Sacrilege: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church
"What is a real man? Our culture doesn't have a clue, but Nancy Pearcey has the answer. It's God's answer. God defines true masculinity in the Bible. Nancy explains--brilliantly--what has happened to men and what the church can do about it. Using a wonderful mix of research, personal and practical stories, and biblical truth, Nancy reveals how all of us can help men become who God designed them to be."
David E. Clarke, Christian psychologist; speaker; author of fifteen books, including Enough Is Enough
"Nancy Pearcey's new book gives us a salient and needed perspective on what's happened to shape the psyche and character of today's man, and it's not positive. Working with so many Christian women in toxic and abusive marriages tells me we must do better. God calls us to do better. Pastors, parents, teachers, and counselors: read this book and help our young boys learn to become good men."
Leslie Vernick, international speaker; relationship coach; author of seven books, including the bestselling The Emotionally Destructive Marriage
"Masculinity isn't toxic. It's divided. Many men are living dual lives: charming in public but noxious in private. Our best efforts to address this problem are making things worse, says Nancy Pearcey. What's needed? A return to the biblical script for manhood. This crisply written, well-researched book shows us where we lost the script--and how to get it back."
David Murrow, author of Why Men Hate Going to Church
"Meticulously researched, Nancy Pearcey's The Toxic War on Masculinity walks the reader through the quagmire of cultural expectations of masculinity and a robust biblical ethic of how all of us should behave and believe in this crazy world we find ourselves in. This book is a historically grounded, compassionate look at the complexities men and women face today."
Mary DeMuth, author of We Too and The Most Misunderstood Women of the Bible
"This book will be one of the best you'll read this year! The Toxic War on Masculinity is comprehensive in its sweep, complex in its depth, and sobering in its message. Nancy Pearcey has done the body of Christ a great favor by not hiding what's wrong with us, but also not caving to the temptation to cancel what God has created. With a balanced approach, her tone is gracious, research is detailed, and insight is culturally relevant. Nancy does not leave us despairing but optimistically hopeful as she smartly brings practical solutions that can transform any man, marriage, family, church, and community."
Rick Thomas, MABC and fellow with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors; founder of LifeOverCoffee.com
"Nancy Pearcey's The Toxic War on Masculinity traces the changes in the nature and character of manhood from times when men were known for their strength of character and virtue to today when men are regarded far more for their physical strength, prowess, and narcissism. With her serious research and compelling writing, Nancy Pearcey explores what has gone wrong and how it can be fixed. For those who are students of our time and who are concerned for the future of their family and our nation, this book provides a pathway for action and hope. Highly recommended."
Darrow Miller, cofounder of Disciple Nations Alliance; author of Discipling Nations and LifeWork
"Nancy Pearcey once again brilliantly tackles a timely issue with amazing clarity and scholarly analysis. She sheds a much-needed light on the historical and cultural factors that have contributed to a distorted understanding of true masculinity. A tour de force, this eye-opening, insightful, and edifying book is a must-read."
Becket Cook, author of A Change of Affection: A Gay Man's Incredible Story of Redemption; host of The Becket Cook Show
Nancy Pearcey is a bestselling author and speaker. A former agnostic, she was hailed in The Economist as "America's pre-eminent evangelical Protestant female intellectual." Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Washington Times, First Things, Human Events, American Thinker, Daily Caller, The Federalist, CNSNews, and Fox News. She has appeared on NPR, C-SPAN, and Fox & Friends. She is currently a professor and scholar in residence at Houston Christian University. Pearcey's books have been translated into 18 languages and include Total Truth, The Soul of Science, Saving Leonardo, Finding Truth, and Love Thy Body.