April 28, 2008
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v2.1 Reference
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April 28, 2008
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v2.1 Reference

Men on a Mission

Valuing Youth Work in Our Communities

Men on a Mission provides the first comprehensive study of men who work and volunteer with kids in a variety of public settings. This engaging book brings to life diverse histories and experiences of men who have worked as coaches, teachers, youth ministers, probation officers, Big Brothers, Boys & Girls Club staff, 4-H agents, and the like.

Drawing on in-depth interviews with men between the ages of 19 and 65, ethnographic observations, and more than twenty years of research on fathers, William Marsiglio explores the many aspects of male mentorship of youth, including the motivating factors, the effectiveness of differing interpersonal strategies, how the work is perceived, the influences that youth work and fathering exert on each other, the ways in which such volunteerism affects men's personal development, and the impact of social policy and programmatic initiatives. He also highlights timely public debates about the feminization of work with kids, the culture of fear arising from the exploitation of children, public discussions about fatherhood, and community initiatives to help at-risk youth.

Situating men’s youth work in historical perspective and discussing the status of youth today, this original and groundbreaking analysis offers a forward-looking vision for getting men more involved, and involved more productively, in helping kids thrive.

About the Author

William Marsiglio is a professor of sociology at the University of Florida and author of Stepdads: Stories of Love, Hope, and Repair.


Bill Marsiglio has single-handedly redefined the study of fatherhood, expanding it by increments so that it now includes mentoring. In so doing, Marsiglio gives the lie once and for all [to the notion] that men are only violent, aggressive and predatory. Everywhere Marsiglio looks, he sees men as compassionate, caring, and giving of themselves. A well-researched, eloquent, intellectually astute, and emotionally generous book.

- Michael Kimmel, SUNY at Stony Brook

Marsiglio’s masterful and panoramic portrait makes us aware how so many men today take a real risk to 'be there' for others’ children, and shows us how they—and we—profoundly benefit from their generative journey.

- Joseph H. Pleck, University of Illinois

Men on a Mission is a moving and eloquent testimony to the huge potential of men to provide caregiving in American society. Marsiglio's book skillfully blends the scholarly and the personal in a signal contribution to a small but growing literature on men's involvement in shaping the course of the next generation.

- Frank F. Furstenberg, University of Pennsylvania

Men on a Mission may well become the guidebook for men who want to positively transform young lives as coaches, teachers, Boys & Girls Club staff and more. It is enlightening—and heartening—to have William Marsiglio prepare the foundation for those seeking to make a difference.

- Roxanne Spillett, President/CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Marsiglio writes beautifully and passionately about a part of men’s lives on which there is little scholarship nor public knowledge... It is a book of much optimism and hope and a must-read for scholars and for men and women interested in changing men and masculinities at the beginning of the twenty first century.

- Andrea Doucet, Carleton University


This is a valuable book for any program serving young people.

- The National Mentoring Center

A comprehensive study of men who work and volunteer with children in a variety of public settings.

- Journal of Economic Literature

This book is a moving drama of men telling their stories of how children bring meaning into their lives—by bringing meaning into the lives of children. It is incredible how varied the backgrounds of these men are.

- Moshe Landsman - PsycCRITIQUES

A fabulous book... Reading Men on a Mission was perhaps the best educational experience I will have in some time.

- Nancy - NCFR Community Portal

Insightful and inviting... the book particularly shines with Marsiglio's discussion of the difficult cultural context within which men work with young people... Scholars of youth, youth work and community development, as well as those studying masculinity, gender and care work will find this book an important and accessible resource.

- Shauna A. Morimoto - Contemporary Sociology

Marsiglio gives voice to the enormous potential of male caregiving in the United States and around the world.

- William A. Corsaro - American Journal of Sociology

Men on a Mission is an inspiring book and an important one... Marsiglio's work has broader implications for the study of human development in general and for men and masculinity in particular... Particularly valuable as we think about individual lives and social policy.

- Carl F. Auerbach - Men and Masculinities
Johns Hopkins University Press
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416 Pages
$63.00 USD
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Paperback / softback
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