Book Review: Lisa Bloom’s Swagger

May 17, 2012 | By | 2 Replies More

Swagger Cover by Author and Attorney Lisa BloomIf you’re interested in a hard-hitting, information-packed, passionate examination of how our American culture is impacting boys in the beginning of this 21st century, Swagger will shake you up.

The facts aren’t new. But like an award-winning documentary producer, Author Lisa Bloom focuses in on the important ones, and gives them context and conclusions. The perspective she crafts is jolting.

I’m surmising that it is her successful practice as an attorney that gives her the edge: she lines up her facts and makes her case, point after powerful point.

Swagger draws in impressive research organized in four dimensions: failing schools; a failing economy; the negative aspects of a culture promoted by the music (TV and movie) industry; and an economy of incarceration.

One of the four dimensions is Thug Culture promoted by the music industry. The chapter was incendiary. Seeing fact after troubling fact, and actual lyrics in top-selling songs, I bolted out of my chair, fired up. Where is the moral and ethical responsibility of America’s corporations? If our support of free speech is unquestionable, what kind of future does America face when companies are making big bucks selling words and music that endorses violence, sexism and hatred?

Shifting her focus from girls and women, after her first book, Think, to boys, in this book Swagger, Lisa Bloom is stepping up as a powerful spokesperson for education and a learning culture for America, starting with our youth. Swagger provides important focus on boys. Our culture is in desperate need of focusing serious, ongoing attention on what boys need to grow into healthy and mature men. Girls and women have and are receiving the attention and support from private and government initiatives. It’s time to allocate increased resources for boys and men. It is overdue and an urgent need.

You may not agree with everything Bloom points out and concludes. But you will be greatly more informed about the impact of our culture’s priorities on America’s boys. And you will be amazed at the rich collection of suggestions and choices Bloom presents in each of the 10 rules she lists for raising boys.

I was pleased to see she had suggestions for families of different financial means, it is too easy for people of means to be unaware of the challenges faced by families at different income levels, though free activities still require time and peace of mind, something that can be so elusive when getting enough money to pay rent and buy food and clothes is a struggle. I was also interested that she named the value of getting perspective from visiting other cultures, as being important for shaping young minds and hearts. The book is packed full, no fluff.

Lisa Bloom has re-activated the discussion about what boys need to grow up well at a national level with her launch on Dr. Phil and Dr. Drew, and ongoing TV interviews. Now we have to up the ante and continue.

How about taking the conversation on raising boys to a whole other level, and start where Swagger ends, with its extra credit section, “Mentoring Boys”? In discussing this book with an advocate for men, the point was raised that men need to be central in raising boys. We need a book written with men, if not wholly by men, and learn about their insight, perspectives and culture as men, focused on raising boys to men. The Mankind Project is one non-profit organization that focuses on developing boys and men, asserting that to become fully mature as men, they need to be guided and challenged by men.

I found Swagger riveting, moving and unsettling in a motivating way. As the divorced mother of a son, it informed me and reminded me of the challenges I faced in finding male mentorship for my son when we weren’t in the same state as his father. As a writer, I found it very exciting to see how Bloom organized her book, and used driving facts to build a compelling case. A lot to learn from this book on many dimensions.

Let’s keep the conversation going. The world won’t get better for girls growing into women, until there is more help and support for boys growing into men.

Reviewed by Anora McGaha, @anorawrites and @AnoraMcGaha on Twitter, after reading a reviewer’s copy of Swagger.

Visit Lisa Bloom’s Website. Connect with her on Twitter and on her Facebook Page.

Read an excerpt from both of Lisa Bloom’s books on her website.

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Category: Book Reviews, US American Women Writers, Women Writing Non-Fiction

Comments (2)

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  1. Hello Anora – Thank you for the mention of the ManKind Project. I would be happy to point out some other resources if your readers are interested. And if your readers would like more information about the ManKind Project in local communities, please feel free to reach out!

    All the best,
    Boysen Hodgson
    ManKind Project USA Communications

    • It would be exciting if you were to have a discussion with Lisa Bloom, and see where the common ground may be. I have only heard the highest praise for the ManKind Project and was glad to be able to mention it here. – Anora

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