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The author, a researcher and writer on the subject of masculinity, explores the male condition from infancy to manhood, exposing its complexity and fragility in the face of conflicting familial, social and sexual impulses. The author's psychoanalytic focus is derived from his clinical experience, but his interdisciplinary background leads him to draw on mythology, anthropology, sociology, history and literature in formulating and illustrating his ideas about male identity and development. Ross pursues such themes as: a boy's early identification with his mother; the evolution of his fatherly ambitions; the aggression and rivalry in father-son relationships; and the developmental role of romantic, erotic passion; these factors document the ongoing changes in views of male psychology. This work is both a general history of the psychoanalytical study of male development, and an account of what that study conveys. Throughout, Ross emphasizes the feminine aspects of a man's nature and the destructive potential inherent in asserting his virility, internal tensions that may result in a complicated and shaky sense of manhood.
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