Contemporary non-fiction about Middle Eastern men often tends to focus on unsavoury and destructive examples of breed. In The New Arab Man, professor Marcia C Inhorn, an anthropologist at Yale University, draws on two decades of ethnographic research as well as the personal testimonies of hundreds of men in the region to tackle these largely western stereotypes.
The result is a mixed bag of confirmations and surprises.
In terms of the former, Inhorn finds Middle Eastern men have needs and goals similar to their counterparts elsewhere, such as creating a loving and stable home in which to raise their families. The latter comes in a look at how Middle Eastern men handle the challenge of infertility, which is more common among men than women in the Arab world. Rather than viewing it with shame or scorn, Inhorn finds that men perceive it as a hereditary disease that can and will be beaten.
With scores of personal narratives, The New Arab Man is highly readable and offers a refreshing viewpoint.