Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-Mo.) book on manhood ― called, of course, “Manhood” ― is finally out, and the reviews have not been kind.
The book has a 1.19 rating on Goodreads after 57 reviews, and 2.4 stars on Amazon. The word from books critics isn’t much better, with Slate’s Rebecca Onion delivering what may be the most scathing one of all.
Like “almost everything Hawley does, the book is an epic disaster,” Onion wrote. “Why did a man who is probably our leading national pipsqueak decide that promoting manliness was his ticket to political power?”
This culture-warrior perspective on manhood is so bizarre to read, knowing Hawley’s political indebtedness to the consumerist, gimme-gimme, consequences-be-damned MAGA vibe that currently dominates the Republican Party. In the chapter on being a ‘king,’ Hawley briefly acknowledges the existence of men who ‘desperately want authority for all the wrong reasons.’ Then, he basically describes Donald Trump, a person whose name does not appear in this book: ‘They preen, they abuse, they dominate. They see others as means to their own ends.’
Washington Post book critic Becca Rothfeld dismissed the book as “two-bit therapy.”
“What is a man, anyway?” Rothfeld wrote. “Hawley’s various answers are not very illuminating. Men are dependent (‘a man cannot be who he is meant to be on his own’) but also independent (‘dependence is in fact a temptation to every man, in every age. It is the temptation to let someone else do it for you’).”
Jon Schwarz of The Intercept laments that the book is both short and long.
“Short because it’s an op-ed stretched out to barely 200 pages, and long because it is preternaturally boring,” Schwarz wrote. “There are zero jokes, not even a single wry remark. Consuming it is like eating a small but dense log of suet.”
Schwarz also notes that Hawley never once mentions his most infamous moment: fleeing Congress after the Jan. 6 rioters he had earlier saluted invaded the Capitol.
Lloyd Green of The Guardian slammed Hawley as “a plutocrat-populist as well as a hectoring moralist.”
Hawley has been promoting his book with a tour of right-wing media outlets and religious events.