August 12, 2013
Young Men Want To Be Heroes: Let's Help Them Do It Right
"There is a wonderful line from an old movie where the protagonist proclaims, "this time it's personal" which sums up my feelings about Lea Carpenter's somber yet moving new novel -- Eleven Days. In many ways, her book is more ode than novel -- an ode to manhood, to motherhood, to the modern warrior and perhaps most compelling an ode to heroics. The personal connection comes from sitting next to Lea during our first year of graduate school, my friendship with Casey Joyce who served valiantly in the Battle of Mogadishu twenty years ago and because I interact daily with college men who yearn to act heroically. I argue we should help them do it right. But it's personal for me mostly because it speaks to an idea that lies at the heart of the work of the Franklin Project: the concept of universal national service. I am convinced young women share many of these aspirations; however, it is our men who seem to be struggling."