Stephen McGarvey Stephen McGarvey's weblog
- 2006 Jan 24
A few weeks ago my friends at BreakPoint published on it's website a book review I wrote for the BreakPoint WorldView magazine: Rediscovering Chivalry: Honorable Behavior in a Lax Age.
It’s difficult to have a productive discussion about the definition of chivalrous or gentlemanly conduct when the media largely depict the average male as a sports-obsessed couch potato. Yet Brad Miner’s recent book, The Compleat Gentleman: The Modern Man’s Guide to Chivalry, attempts to do just that. The book is not a work of sociology or a manifesto for some new movement, says Miner. Rather he examines the history of Western chivalric ideals to determine how these ideals should apply to gentlemen today.
I would not be able to count the number of times I'd heard someone tell me "be a gentleman" growing up. May dad and grandfather were both big on proper decorum conducting yourself with class. Family and culture demanded such behavior of young man in the past. Looking around today is clear that such demands are largely absent from our world today. Miner's book is an great look at the history of chivarly as a concept, and how some of those principles might apply to us today.
Miner quickly admits that a search for a standard in gentlemanly conduct is not a quest for perfection. Throughout history, “chivalry was more an ambition than an accomplishment,” says Miner. Yet you could easily say about chivalry what G. K. Chesterton said about Christianity: It has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried. Despite mankind’s flaws, principles of chivalry are healthy for any society (or individual) seeking to employ them.
Read the full article: Rediscovering Chivalry: Honorable Behavior in a Lax Age