The Descent of Man by Grayson Perry

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“One of the central issues here, and the reason this book is called The Descent of Man, is that as women rise to their just level of power, then so shall some men fall.” A gender-studies primer that translates academic jargon into conversational argument.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

What does it mean to be male in the 21st Century? Award-winning artist Grayson Perry explores what masculinity is: from sex to power, from fashion to career prospects, and what it could become—with illustrations throughout.

In this witty and necessary new book, artist Grayson Perry trains his keen eye on the world of men to ask, what sort of man would make the world a better place? What would happen if we rethought the macho, outdated version of manhood, and embraced a different ideal? In the current atmosphere of bullying, intolerance and misogyny, demonstrated in the recent Trump versus Clinton presidential campaign, The Descent of Man is a timely and essential addition to current conversations around gender. 

Apart from gaining vast new wardrobe options, the real benefit might be that a newly fitted masculinity will allow men to have better relationships—and that’s happiness, right? Grayson Perry admits he’s not immune from the stereotypes himself—yet his thoughts on everything from power to physical appearance, from emotions to a brand new Manifesto for Men, are shot through with honesty, tenderness, and the belief that, for everyone to benefit, updating masculinity has to be something men decide to do themselves. They have nothing to lose but their hang-ups.
 

About Grayson Perry

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Grayson Perry’s first art prize was a large papier-mâché head he awarded to himself as part of a performance art project at college in 1980. Since then he has won many other awards, including the Turner Prize in 2003. He is now one of Britain’s most celebrated artists and has had major solo exhibitions all over the world. His 2013 BBC Reith Lectures were the most popular lectures since the series began. He won a BAFTA for his Channel 4 documentary on the creation of six new tapestries entitled ’The Vanity of Small Differences, All in the Best Possible Taste’, for which he was also awarded Best Presenter at the Grierson British Documentary Awards.
Author Residence: London
 
Published October 20, 2016 by ALLEN LANE.
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Descent of Man
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Above average
on Mar 20 2017

“One of the central issues here, and the reason this book is called The Descent of Man, is that as women rise to their just level of power, then so shall some men fall.” A gender-studies primer that translates academic jargon into conversational argument.

Read Full Review of The Descent of Man | See more reviews from Kirkus

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Jason Heller on May 30 2017

Descent is a slim book, but it packs plenty of surprises per page. Perry veers from mild satire to sobering analysis to confessional candor, all while hopping between issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, economics, anthropology, sociology, and psychology.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on May 23 2017

Even at fewer than 150 pages, “The Descent of Man” is too long. In the last third Perry is reduced to stating poorly what he said well earlier in the book. He’s begun to twist a dry sponge. But when he’s on, which is frequently enough, Perry is an eloquent and witty tour guide...

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Reader Rating for The Descent of Man
85%

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