This review opens with a paragraph focusing on the image of a man on the book’s cover: “He embodies the physicality of virility that this hefty volume, at its best, historicizes vividly...” The reviewer doesn’t acknowledge that the photograph on the cover is of Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski. Surely identifying this famous character and the actor playing him would add something to the review’s discussion of "historicizing" virility?
Thanks for this, and for your tweet - as I said, it's not an image I'm familiar with since twentieth-century film is far from my specialism, so I'm grateful for the extra information! As you say, it's an apposite choice for the cover image and Stanley embodies some of the anxiety and violence that the book's treatment of twentieth-century virility focuses on.
You still seem hazy about the significance of Brando’s charisma and general cultural importance. Images of Marlon Brando, particularly in the role of Stanley Kowalski, are iconic. This is the reason for the astute choice of the book cover by the publishers of "A History of Virility." The actor has had a long-standing cultural impact on a global scale and his image continues to be an influence on various cultural discourses since his death—he was the subject of a recent well-reviewed documentary film and biographies continue to appear (I recommend "Brando’s Smile: His Life, Thought and Work" by Susan Mizruchi). This star is not merely a figure from twentieth century film!
He was "somebody" (see his role as Terry Malloy in "On the Waterfront") and I found it troubling that a reviewer would fail to recognize his photograph and go on to discuss an image of Brando as though he was an anonymous male model. Nevertheless, your review demonstrates a knowledgeable understanding of masculinity in various historical periods and offers solid evidence of why we shouldn’t just judge this complex book by its cover alone.
Thanks very much for the extra contextual information on Brando: you're right that this knowledge does add a lot to our understanding of the cover photograph and its significance for the book as a whole. I'm sorry that you found the omission troubling. It's perhaps inevitable that any reviewer of a book that spans 'antiquity to the present' would be more well-versed in some of the periods under discussion than others, which is why comments and discussion from other scholars are so valuable in situations like this.