A compelling and controversial exploration of absentee fathers and their impact on the nation.
``The most urgent domestic challenge facing the United States...is the re-creation of fatherhood as a vital social role for men,'' says Blankenhorn, founder and president of the Institute for American Values, a private New York City research organization. His compelling presentation of the ``culture of fatherlessness'' describes more than the physical absence of a father from the family; what is most troubling, he maintains, is the growing belief that fatherhood is an unnecessary function. The author examines various demographics of fatherlessness and presents his recommendations for rediscovering the goal of ``a father for every child,'' cautioning that unless the trend of fatherlessness is reversed, the ``decline of child well-being and the spread of male violence'' will not be arrested. Although this and others of his conclusions are arguable, Blankenhorn provides much worthy fodder for debate. (Feb.)