The Way We Really are
Coming to Terms with America's Changing Families
By (author) Stephanie Coontz
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Way We Really are by Stephanie Coontz
Book DescriptionStephanie Coontz, the author of The Way We Never Were, now turns her attention to the mythology that surrounds today's family--the demonizing of "untraditional" family forms and marriage and parenting issues. She argues that while it's not crazy to miss the more hopeful economic trends of the 1950s and 1960s, few would want to go back to the gender roles and race relations of those years. Mothers are going to remain in the workforce, family diversity is here to stay, and the nuclear family can no longer handle all the responsibilities of elder care and childrearing.Coontz gives a balanced account of how these changes affect families, both positively and negatively, but she rejects the notion that the new diversity is a sentence of doom. Every family has distinctive resources and special vulnerabilities, and there are ways to help each one build on its strengths and minimize its weaknesses.The book provides a meticulously researched, balanced account showing why a historically informed perspective on family life can be as much help to people in sorting through family issues as going into therapy--and much more help than listening to today's political debates.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780465090921
(203mm x 127mm x 16mm)
Imprint: Basic Books
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 18-Apr-1998
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Stephanie Coontz
Way We Never Were, Paperback (April 2016)
The Way We Never Were examines two centuries of American family life and shatters a series of myths and half-truths that burden modern families. Placing current family dilemmas in the context of far-
Strange Stirring, Paperback (March 2012)
"An illuminating analysis of the book that helped launch the movement that freed women to participate more fully in American society."--Wall Street Journal
American Families, Paperback (April 2008)
American families have become more ethnically diverse than ever before. Different family forms and living arrangements have also multiplied, with single-parent families, divorced couples with children, and newly-visible same-sex families. This book explores the interactions between race-ethnicity, class, and sexuality in shaping family life.
Marriage, a History, Paperback / softback» View all books by Stephanie Coontz
In this surprising landmark book, family historian Coontz explodes every cherished assumption about marriage, starting with the notion of the traditional marriage.
US Kirkus Review » A historian of the American family debunks the myth that a return to the so-called traditional two-parent nuclear family can provide us with an unassailable refuge from the social, economic, and psychological stresses Americans seem to feel so acutely these days. The latest book by Coontz, author of The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap (1992), focuses on the anxieties of contemporary American women and men about their lives, work, and families, and addresses these fears in the context of more accurate historical data and the most recent sociological research. What people really miss about the so-called Golden Age of the 1950s, Coontz points out, is an economy that supported unprecedented growth in real wages. We now tend to blame the instability of families for economic disruptions, when in fact economic dislocations have undermined our families. Furthermore, the prominence of the single-breadwinner, middle-class family so emblematic of post - WW II prosperity was actually a short-term anomaly in the history of family structure. The changes we have experienced since the 1970s could even be said to represent a revival of the role of women as family coprovider, a pattern that not only served us well in preindustrial times, but may be better suited to the new postindustrial economy. The burden of housework and child care falling almost exclusively on women has been the primary source of recent marital conflict and family stress, and Coontz points out that the demands of work schedules and the behavior of most men have yet to acknowledge the inability of working women to carry all the weight at home. Coontz's refreshingly grounded perspective encourages the development of a broader social intelligence that would enable us to move beyond, for example, simpleminded scapegoating of the single welfare mother, coming up with social policies that truly assist more of us in improving our lives. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Stephanie Coontz
Stephanie Coontz is a member of the faculty of Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, where she is a historian and an expert on American culture.
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