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Understanding the Tin Man.

Understanding The Tin Man

by William July II Doubleday, January 2000, $15.00, ISBN 0-385-49663-X

Motivational speaker and best-selling author William July II attempts to answer in this follow-up book to Brothers, Lust and Love: Thoughts on Manhood, Sex and Romance, the complex question of why so many African American men avoid intimacy. He astutely links the large number of black men who shun genuine intimacy with their emotionally distant and commitment phobic nature, to their upbringing as boys trained to be masculine, controlling, and powerful. The term July uses is "Tin Man," borrowed from the character in Frank L. Baum's novel, The Wizard of Oz. These Tin Men savor the physical sensation of a sexual relationship while steering clear of the work needed to explore a deeper union with a woman.

July believes Tin Men want more than sex from women but haven't learned the skills to overcome their conditioning. Furthermore, the author says this macho behavior can have detrimental health consequences, stemming from the self-destructive actions connected with it. As a recovering Tin Man, July notes that a personal transformation does not occur overnight but requires patience and determination to restructure one's thinking and lifestyle. He cautions men and women not to buy into the stereotypical view of masculinity and look and listen for signs of the Tin Man syndrome. To aid the reader, he includes a helpful Tin Man quiz with 27 questions designed to provide the clues for ferreting out the closet Tin Man case.

Also, by listing the various types of Tin Men (and Tin Women) July assists both men and women in spotting the symptoms before they can infect a relationship. He also details the fears men and women have concerning love and intimacy. His chapters on sex, communication, and feminine Tin-speak are informative, candid, and full of common sense advice. Most valuable is the special message segment, which concludes the book, for it addresses many key issues which seriously threaten the existence of the black family. Understanding the Tin Man pulls no punches and instructs rather than proselytizes. July's Tin Man might be the best of the new crop sounding the alarm for troubled black relationships and the ongoing estrangement between the sexes. In addition to shedding light on the problem, July offers practical solutions.
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Fleming, Robert
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 2000
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