The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood is an anthology of thirty-one essays by a broad range of men—rich, poor, black, white, gay, straight, urban, rural, famous, ordinary—all writing about the challenges, obstacles, triumphs, failures, and defining moments they encounter. Collectively, their experiences help to define what it means to be a man in America today.
The book launched on November 15, 2009, concurrently with the DVD of a documentary film of the same title, directed and produced by renowned filmmaker Matt Gannon. The book and DVD are available at Amazon.com, www.goodmenbook.org, and select independent bookshops.
Contributors to the book include Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Charlie LeDuff and Not That You Asked essayist Steve Almond. An NFL Hall of Famer, a former Sing Sing inmate, and a Pultizer Prize–nominated photojournalist in Iraq are among the other contributors. In addition, the book includes the winning essay from The Good Men Project’s national writing contest, Perry Glasser’s Iowa Black Dirt, about a man who unexpectedly gains full custody of his 8-year-old daughter.
“This all started with the idea that men of our generation have stories to tell,” notes Good Men Project co-founder James Houghton. “And what is striking about the stories in the book is not just the breadth of experience and shared humanity that is expressed, but also the desire for so many men to talk, given our cultural bias to put on the good face and hold it all together.”
“When I shared these stories with my 13-year-old son, Seamus,” recalls The Good Men Project co-founder, Tom Matlack, “he told me that even the most hard-core essays in the book—the ones about war, sex, prison, addiction, death—cover stuff he’s already struggling to figure out. That didn’t surprise me. After Seamus read Michael Kamber’s essay about his Iraq experience, the discussion we had about Seamus’s dream to join the military went way beyond the Jason Bourne stuff we had talked about before. For the first time, we talked about what serving the country, and war, really means: the good, the bad, death, bodies torn apart. Michael’s story and our conversation dealt a decisive blow to the big-screen fantasies of war Seamus has grown up with—which are all he had in the absence of our talk. The book as a whole has given Seamus a new, honest, real way to think of his own approaching manhood.”
The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood has gone on to become a film/dvd, a series of live events, an online magazine and an ongoing discussion of what it means to be a man today.
A portion of the proceeds from sales of the book go to The Good Men Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(3)(c) corporation that helps fund organizations that provide educational, social, financial, and legal support to organizations that help men and boys at risk.