What’s the Matter With Boys? A review Of Leonard Sax’s “Boys Adrift”

The issue of male underperformance in the past generation has been explored by prominent cultural critics Charles Murray, Philip Zimbardo and Christine Hoff Sommers.
Dr. Sax, following up his best-selling “Gender Matters”, seems to have devoted his career to the issue and is certainly considered a global expert on the subject.

Ch. 1 Sax notes that the greatest gender disparity has occurred at universities: in 1950 70% of students were males, whereas it is only about 40% today.
Ch. 2 Quoting recent developmental brain research he says, “Trying to teach five year old boys to read and write may be just as inappropriate as it would be to try to teach three year old girls to do so.”
Ch. 3 Sax believes that excess time on video games is behind the fact that that 12 year old boys now perform only as well on real-world science and math tests as did eight-to nine-year olds in 1976.
Ch. 4 Dr. Sax notes that children in the US (usually boys) are three times as likely to be on psychiatric medications as are children in any European country.
Ch. 5 This may be his most controversial chapter: “…the very same endochrine-disrupting chemicals that accelerate puberty in girls may delay or disrupt the process of puberty in boys.”
Ch. 6 He explores the “Failure to Launch” phenomenon: in much of the US 25% or more of males 30 to 54 are neither working nor looking for work.
Ch. 7 Sax notes that in the past 50 years homicide rates among US youth have risen by more than 130 percent, while suicide rates have risen by almost 140 percent.
Ch. 8 In this summary chapter, Dr. Sax makes a compelling case for single-sex education, especially in a society in which almost 50% of boys grow up in fatherless homes.

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