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NONFICTION : HOW MEN FEEL: THEIR RESPONSE TO WOMEN'S DEMANDS FOR EQUALITY AND POWER by Anthony Astrachan (Anchor: $19.95; 444 pp.).

August 24, 1986|Jim Sanderson

With the help of grants from both the Ford and Rockefeller foundations, the author, an ex-foreign correspondent, spent nine years researching and writing this massive book. I fear he labored too long and tried to do too much.

Anthony Astrachan's original research (he interviewed 350 men) pays off most dramatically in the first third of the book focusing on work. Again and again, in the Army, blue-collar occupations and management, we listen to the agonized voice of a male who can't quite deal with a woman "in a man's job."

But 30 pages each don't really tell us how men feel about changes in marriage and family, fathering and sexuality. Astrachan here feeds us back all the statistics and familiar suppositions spouted daily in the mass media.

In conclusion, the author guesses that only 5 to 10% of all men "genuinely support women's demands for independence and equality." His entire reporting rings with anger and blame that males should be so stubbornly, unfairly sexist, but no solutions are proposed.

We've moved on now to a whole new wave of books that try to offer men practical help in examining their lives and relationships--for example, Herb Goldberg's "The New Male Female Relationship" and Ken Druck's "The Secrets Men Keep."

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