Out tomorrow from Icon Books with a beautiful new cover is Jack Urwin’s MAN UP – a funny and accessible examination of masculinity and its current issues, related in Jack’s highly informed and friendly style.
The book was inspired by a combination of the death of Urwin’s father when Jack was nine, as well as Jack’s experiences of depression. MAN UP comes after a viral article Urwin wrote for VICE in 2014 - A Stiff Upper Lip is Killing British Men, and covers a range of topics in which masculinity plays a defining role, including lad culture, sexuality, conscription during WW1 and WW2, and mass shootings.
With male suicide currently the primary cause of death for men between 18 and 49 in the UK, MAN UP keeps its sights firmly on mental health throughout, and reveals the damage that the typical idea of masculinity can inflict upon it. Urwin’s deconstruction of masculinity and arguments for less rigid ideas of gender take us back to those who went to war in the first half of the 20th Century, and subsequently lost the ability to vocalise what they had seen – conscription examined by Urwin as a kind of compulsory “state-sanctioned requirement for masculinity”. It also takes in the recent decline of the working class, and the current mental health epidemic afflicting men.
Jack Urwin was born in Loughborough in 1992 and moved to London at 18 to study journalism, a degree which would do its best to turn him off becoming a journalist. He spent several years working as a music publicist on campaigns for a variety of major and independent labels, leading to Enrique Iglesias labelling him — quite unfairly, he feels — a ‘drill sergeant'.
Jack contributes to a number of music publications, humour sites and magazines including McSweeney's and VICE. His work has covered a range of issues such as politics, mental health and gender and has drawn praise from the likes of Irvine Welsh.
Praise for Jack Urwin
‘With depression and suicide among young men on the rise Jack Urwin explores the roots of stiff-upper-lip “toxic masculinity” and makes a powerful argument for greater emotional honesty.’ – Daily Express
‘Jack Urwin’s new book – Man Up: Surviving Modern Masculinity – tackles these issues in a funny and approachable way despite the seriousness of the subject matter.’ – Nick Harris-Fry, Coach Magazine
‘This is the brilliant, personal, not-actually sexist writing by millennials about masculinity and politics that the world has been waiting for.’ – Laurie Penny
‘Jack Urwin writes like he speaks: accessible, funny, and interesting. His article got people talking and now, almost two years on, he is right in thinking that the time for a big discussion about masculinity has arrived.’ – The Telegraph
‘What it means to be a man is a fiercely debated question, and one that comes with millennia of baggage about the ‘ideals’ of masculinity. Vice journalist Jack Urwin fearlessly explores this issue, probing into why aggression and repression are still considered the norm when characterising men. This is an essential read at a time when gender divides are still part of the everyday landscape.’ –Topman