Synopses & Reviews
One of Columbia Press's most talked about books, Where Men Hide is James B. Twitchell and Ken Ross's spirited tour of the dark and often dirty places men go to find comfort, camaraderie, relaxation, and escape. Ross documents both traditional and contemporary male haunts, such as bars, barbershops, pool halls, strip clubs, and the basement Barcalounger, and Twitchell examines their provenance, purpose, and appeal. Drawing on literary, historical, and pop cultural sources, Twitchell connects the places men hide with figures like Hemingway and Huck Finn, Frederick Jackson Turner's theory of the American frontier, and the mythological interpretations of Joseph Campbell and Robert Bly. Where Men Hide is a visually rich and astute study of an instantly recognizable phenomenon sure to strike a chord with all readers, regardless of where they hide.
"The author of AdCULT USA and Lead Us into Temptation takes a vacation from consumer culture to explore male spaces, from the recliner to the boxing ring, with photographer Ross. An affable guide, Twitchell mourns the demise of the men-only barbershop, puzzles over the 'dreariness' of male lairs and wanders into the cross-cultural history of deer hunting. His vivid personal accounts of, say, his fascination with Saddam Hussein's spider hole breathe life into what could have been a fusty set of clichs. Twitchell dissects Ross's photos of male insularity and advertisements reassuring men they can get away from it all. But in the end the book arrives at the obvious conclusion: men make their own spaces for good or ill, and these spaces are changing. He also falls into sweeping generalization ('Women go to convents to do good work. Men go to monasteries to get away from women'). Still, he is that rare thing in cultural studies, a raconteur, and his generalizations are sometimes thought provoking, as when he discusses why men-only groups are a selling point of megachurches. For men who like to think about manhood but not too hard and women who are wondering what the attraction is of that grimy garage, Twitchell makes an entertaining companion." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Where Men Hide" is a spirited tour of the dark and often dirty places men go to find comfort, camaraderie, relaxation, and escape. Ken Ross's striking photographs and James B. Twitchell's lively analysis trace the evolution of these virtual caves, and question why they are rapidly disappearing. They find that for centuries men have met with each other in underground lairs and clubhouses to conduct business or to bond and indulge in shady entertainments. In these secret dens, certain rules are abandoned while others are obeyed. Twitchell connects the places men hide with figures like Hemingway and Huck Finn, Frederick Jackson Turner's theory of the American frontier, and the mythological interpretations of Joseph Campbell and Robert Bly. Documenting both traditional and contemporary male haunts, Twitchell and Ross examine the provenance, purpose, and appeal of this little-discussed and controversial phenomenon.
In this unique book, consumer culture expert James Twitichell and photographer Ken Ross explore and document with stunning photographs the places men go or have gone to be alone or with other men.