Father Hunger

Wilson, Douglas. Father Hunger: Why God Calls Men to Love and Lead their Families. Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson, 2012. viii + 252 pp. $15.99

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In Father Hunger, Douglas Wilson addresses the current generation’s lack of comprehension of fatherhood. Many, however, do not recognize the dearth as the problem. In fact, many do not believe it exists. He writes, “As we look around, we know that we are broken, but we somehow assume that our notions of fatherhood are intact… Perhaps our world is as broken as it is because our understanding of fatherhood was shattered first” (2).

Never one to shy away from controversy, Wilson jumps into the shark-infested waters of gender roles almost immediately and declares the problem as he sees it. “Much of what will be argued throughout the course of this book will not seem very enlightened or progressive to today’s average reader, and so we must begin by addressing the problems created by something called egalitarianism” (5). Modern culture’s failure to clearly articulate and understand equality has led to dramatic problems.

Men and women, according to Wilson, are equal in the sense that they are to be given the same treatment in such arenas as a court of law, but the right to the same treatment does not, in fact, mean that they are the same. He explains, “A man might be called up to take care of all his tools, treating them all with the same kind of respect. But treating a hammer with respect and a screwdriver with respect means treating them differently – you don’t twist screws with a hammer and you don’t drive nails with the handle of a screwdriver” (6-7).

After making an initial proclamation of society’s ills, Wilson then traces the lack of true masculinity – genuine fathers – through various arenas and enterprises including religion, education, government, the workplace, and economics revealing society’s longing and need for such a thing. However controversial Wilson may be (and he has ruffled many feathers), one cannot accuse him of a failure to be thorough.

Chapter 13, “Some Father Mechanics,” is worth the price of the book alone.

While I found myself repeatedly nodding my head, making notes to myself, and committing to become a better father throughout this book, chapter 13 provided insight to some of my greatest weaknesses as a father. Naturally, this was terrifying and convicting, and was both my favorite and least-favorite chapter in the entire book. As a father of five children (four boys), I simply cannot afford to get this wrong.

You will undoubtedly find disagreement with portions of this book. The author’s opinions do not lack for conviction. He articulates those opinions clearly and forcefully. But despite whatever points of disagreement one finds, the message is clear. We suffer from father hunger. Our society, our culture, our workplaces and churches need men. They need men who are willing to be men – not in the feminine sense that society has attempted to shape us, nor in the obscene machismo that has risen as a response – but in the manner in which God has created them for and called them to.

Douglas Wilson, Father Hunger


I received this book free from the publisher through the Thomas Nelson book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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