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This book is a joy to read for anyone longing to escape the confines of our decadent culture. The history of gentlemanliness, chivalry, courtship, and honor that comprises the first portion of the book is sound and thorough enough, but the point of this text comes toward the end, where Miner explains what it is to be a gentleman in today?s society. He shows how it is possible and gives examples of modern day gentlemen (largely centered around the military and the heroes of 9/11).
The argument for chivalry stumbles when the author tries to make a case for martial combat. Simply, our age cannot condone martial combat because technology has eliminated the possibility of honorable combat. School shootings and the prospect of nuclear war are proof that we should find a better outlet for physical prowess. Sport is the closest thing I can think of, but it is not mentioned in the book.
The big problem with Miner?s examination is his exaltation of coolness. The way he puts it, cool (sprezzatura) is the ultimate aim of the gentleman. And while a solid case can be made for sprezzatura, coolness means nonchalance and insouciance, and those things do not always lead to refinement and excellence. Indeed, coolness is the primary aim of our culture these days and it leads directly to all the problems that Miner is trying to correct with the compleat gentleman.
It is a fine collection of refreshing ideas and is well worth the read despite its near-fatal flaw. The author is diligent in locating the source of words and ideas and it is worth the read just to know where the word ?romance? came from. Ultimately, the book will probably add some energy to the growing movement toward a more civilized society.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
In stark contrast to The Knight's Code by Robert Noland (which I also reviewed), this book is exactly what I hoped it would be. Without any religious agenda, the author extrapolates the finer points behind the concept of chivalry, traces how it evolved through the ages, and gives the reader a means by which to apply such things to life in the modern politically-correct world. As one who tries to live by a chivalric code, I found that a great many ideas here resonated with what I already understood, and many more ideas helped to build upon gaps in my understanding and appreciation. The history is interesting and accurate to the best of my knowledge, serving to facilitate the evolution of the gentlemanly mindset without alienating the reader or scaring him away. I learned plenty along the way to supplement my previous knowledge, so that's always a plus. As with any book of this nature, the information is only a curiosity unless applied, and if the reader is willing to apply the ideas within, this book could be a transformative experience... but only the reader can determine the fullness of that claim for himself.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
The narrator and the author are perfect, I believe this is a far better read as an audio book
Any additional comments?
A book about being a real man, no rules of how to make other people feel happy , full of useful insights into how all men should carry them selves in the world. Love it
2 of 2 people found this review helpful