In this book Eldredge tackles seeks to give men permission
to be what God created them to be – men. From his observation
of culture (i.e. movies), history and Scripture Eldredge reaches the
conclusion that men are hardwired to seek (1) a battle to fight, (2) a
beauty to rescue and (3) an adventure to live.
The motivation for this book is the cultural redefinition of
masculinity into one of two extremes. Men are encouraged to be
more feminine, squelching their masculinity, or they are encouraged
to be hyper-masculine, driven by a macho mischaracterization of
While Eldridge approaches both issues in the book, his
primary focus is against the “feminization” of men. With that
in mind he sets out to reunite men with the battle, beauty, and
adventure drive within them. But before he fleshes out those three
points he spends the majority of the book laying the groundwork.
He looks at the questions that haunt men, the wounds we carry, the
battle for man’s heart and how ultimately the healing is found at the
cross. This then sets the reader up to learn about the battle to be
fought, the beauty to be rescued and the adventure to live.
I believe that Eldredge makes his point well but potentially
distracts from his point in two ways. First, his handling of scripture
led to some questionable views of God. Since this is not a theology
book and he’s making observations from a human perspective
rather than a doctrinal thesis I can understand his point of view,
but nonetheless it was a distraction for me and has undermined
the message of the entire book for others. Secondly, he only
occasionally warns against turning manliness into a super-macho
caricature, and at times, had I not noted the subtle warnings, I would
have felt that he was advocating what he warned against.
With those observations I still recommend this book,
especially for men, young and old. At the very least it will push the
reader outside the box and make him recognize that what passes
for “manliness” in our culture is handicapping the type of man God
wants us to be.
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