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The Man They Wanted Me To Be

Toxic Masculinity and a Crisis of Our Own Making

List Price: $26.00

ON SALE: May 7, 2019 | Hardcover | 6.0 x 9.0, 304 pages | ISBN 9781640091818
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The author of The People Are Going to Rise Upon Your Shore turns his keen eye to our current crisis of masculinity using his upbringing in a rural, patriarchal home as an entry point to consider the personal and societal dangers of performative gender

Based on his provocative and popular New York Times op-ed, The Man They Wanted Me to Be is both memoir and cultural analysis. Jared Yates Sexton alternates between an examination of his working class upbringing and historical, psychological, and sociological sources that examine the genesis of toxic masculinity and its consequences for society.

As progressivism changes American society, and globalism shifts labor away from traditional manufacturing, the roles that have been prescribed to men since the Industrial Revolution have been rendered as obsolete. Donald Trump’s campaign successfully leveraged male resentment and entitlement, and now, with Trump as president and the rise of the #MeToo movement, it’s clearer than ever what a problem performative masculinity is.

Deeply personal and thoroughly researched, The Man They Wanted Me to Be examines how we teach boys what’s expected of men in America, and the long term effects of that socialization—which include depression, suicide, misogyny, and, ultimately, shorter lives. Sexton turns his keen eye to the establishment of the racist patriarchal structure which has favored white men, and investigates the personal and societal dangers of such outdated definitions of manhood.

JARED YATES SEXTON is the author of The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore. He is a contributing political writer at Salon, and his political writing has appeared in The New York TimesThe New Republic, and elsewhere. Sexton is also the author of three collections of fiction and a crime-novel, and is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Georgia Southern University.

Praise

Praise for The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore

“An impressionistic and often disturbing account of the 2016 presidential race . . . Sexton grapples with the Trump campaign from the perspective of the crowds reveling in the candidate’s presence and message. It is a useful vantage point given the increasingly blatant bigotry in the months since the election . . . This book reveals the incremental nature of public displays of hatred, growing from harsh chants and bumper stickers to, say, an open and unmasked gathering of white supremacists in Charlottesville . . . [His] dispatches are bracing.” —The Washington Post 

“This is the post-campaign book I was waiting for. Nothing else has shown me so clearly the ruptures in our culture aligned with Trump’s candidacy, or even the nature of the way we choose a president. Essential reading for understanding this country now and going forward.” —Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night

“Jared Yates Sexton didn’t just randomly become a phenomenon in his chronicling of Donald Trump’s fans and foibles, it happened because he’s our Jane Goodall to Trump’s Deplorables. His work has been indispensable to those who have tried to understand our times, with an honesty lacking among most of our mainstream media. Read this book.” —Cliff Schecter, bestselling author of The Real McCain: Why Conservatives Don’t Trust Him—And Why Independents Shouldn’t and a columnist for The Daily Beast 

“Jared Yates Sexton ventured into the dark heart of American partisanship and emerged with a warning that all of us would do well to heed. Thoughtful, compassionate, and exceptionally brave, this book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how—and why—our country turned on itself.” —Bronwen Dickey, author of Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon 

“Sexton’s first-person account is both candidly relatable and viscerally frightening . . . [His] seamless blending of his reporter’s objectivity with the personal evaluations of a voter who has skin in the game yields trenchant analysis . . . Sexton’s is a critical and important voice in helping readers understand the cultural and political sea change the election created.” —Booklist (starred review)

“A leftist counterweight to Hillbilly Elegy, laced with shots of Hunter S. Thompson . . . A useful snapshot of a tumultuous presidential race.” —Kirkus Reviews 

“Sexton’s reporting provides a unique nuts-and-bolts look at the campaigns, and his eyewitness reports of the aggressive displays at Trump rallies are both terrifying and fascinating.” —Publishers Weekly 

“First of all, this is the best book title of 2017, hands down. Second, and more importantly, this is the book to read if you want to understand what the hell happened in the United States in 2016. If you follow Sexton on Twitter (and you should), you know he brings a sharp eye, fierce intellect, and resilient capacity for surprise to the problem of American political life. And that’s just 140 characters at a time. Just imagine what he can do with 300+ pages.” —Book Riot

The People Are Going to Rise is a comprehensive chronicle of the 2016 campaign from the margins . . . Even with the fresh-hell fatigue of following the resulting administration, and with that campaign still in recent memory, revisiting it with Sexton lets you see the horror anew, with a deeper sense of its consequences. And as the water level rises higher on the shore, Sexton continues to be a dutiful correspondent.” —Black Warrior Review 

The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore encapsulates what this election was and what it meant to be watching. It shows us how low our society is still capable of going and how a large portion is fighting back. This book is important for us now, but it will be imperative for the generations of the future.” —The Big Smoke

“Sexton writes as a reporter who experienced both life and politics in the 2016 campaign. His book is excellent . . . [It] tries to make sense of a country trying to make sense of itself.” —Winnipeg Free Press 

“[A] convincing picture of the ugliness of the Trump rallies and the dispirited feeling in the Clinton camp.” —The Toronto Star

“[A] brilliant, unflinching book covering the 2016 campaign.” —Kentucky Herald-Leader

“Jared Yates Sexton’s chronicle of the 2016 election is the first that spoke to me on a visceral level. There’s a unique value in ignoring postmortems and what-ifs and instead drilling right to the center of America, to the fracturing, raging heart of our nation, and forcing oneself not to look away. The result is a gripping dirge for who we were, who we are, and who we might have been.” —Tristan Charles, bookseller, Parnassus Books (Nashville, TN)

“The clearest thing I’ve seen in my seemingly non-stop reading about what happened to us all November.” —Jan Weissmiller, Prairie Lights Books (Iowa City, IA)

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