We Read Hawley’s ‘Manhood’ Book So You Don’t Have To

Progress MO

Last Tuesday, Senator Josh Hawley released his long-awaited, often-mocked book, Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs. In the interest of holding our elected officials accountable, we gave it a read.

Our five word review: out of touch, sad, and boring. Keep reading to hear some of the highlights.

Out Of Touch

Early reviews have mostly focused on Hawley’s backwards political beliefs. The guy’s definitely stuck in the past, and his book has a few pages that prove it.

But what we found more intriguing was Hawley’s views on the modern man. For a guy who supposedly espouses masculinity, Josh Hawley is extremely critical of men.

Hawley mentions a few issues that we can agree on: men aren’t making as much money as their fathers, and the well-paying blue-collar jobs Americans used to count on can’t provide for a family anymore. His answers, though, are not based in reality.

Hawley says men aren’t doing well because they aren’t trying hard enough. He points at men and young boys’ falling behind in education as a symptom of “not trying.” He claims that 75% of men who don’t have jobs, simply do not want them because they are “content to be dependent” on their families and the government. He says American men spend too much time on “leisure,” and not enough working. Basically, if you’re not doing well in life, it’s your fault, and your fault alone.

That’s rich coming from a Senator who backed laws to weaken labor unions, voted against paid family leave, and received failing grades from prominent labor and education advocacy groups for his votes against working people and public school students.


By this point, we were thinking: “surely someone this obsessed with manhood has something deeper going on.” And we were right. Whenever Hawley delved too deeply into his personal life, it got pretty depressing.

Hawley is really proud of his role as a father. He has an entire chapter of his book dedicated to the importance of being a good dad. If you only read this chapter, you might be shocked to learn Hawley has three children, not two. In the entirety of the fatherhood chapter, Hawley does not mention his daughter, though he does mention his two sons. His biblical references repeat the importance of being a father to sons. Hawley doesn’t explicitly mention his daughter until the last chapter of the book, where in passing he refers to her as the only girl and therefore, the center of attention. Ick.


About two-thirds of this book is a lecture covering the Bible and Epicurean philosophy. Unfortunately, Hawley lacks the charisma of your favorite pastor. Instead, he ends up coming across more like the obnoxious pre-law guy your roommate dated in college. Bla bla bla bla bla.

And if you think this is a symptom of it being in book form, the audiobook (read by Hawley himself) is just as mind-numbing. Probably because the guy reading it is basically a cardboard cut-out in a button-down and khakis.

The Bottom Line

As much as Hawley’s hypocritical masculinity takes are out of touch, sad, and boring, they also have a real effect on Missouri’s men.

A senator who doesn’t respect his own constituents cannot serve their best interests, especially when he thinks their very real problems are a result of laziness or a lack of initiative.

If Hawley loves masculinity and cares about Missouri men, he should vote for solutions that help all of us.