The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1993-10-05
  • Publisher: Basic Books

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The Way We Never Wereexamines 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-reaching economic, political, and demographic changes, Coontz sheds new light on such contemporary concerns as parenting, privacy, love, the division of labor along gender lines, the black family, feminism, and sexual practice.

Author Biography

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.

Table of Contents

Preface vii
Introduction 1(7)
1 The Way We Wish We Were: Defining the Family Crisis
2 "Leave It to Beaver" and "Ozzie and Harriet": American Families in the 1950s
3 "My Mother Was a Saint": Individualism, Gender Myths, and the Problem of Love
4 We Always Stood on Our Own Two Feet: Self-reliance and the American Family
5 Strong Families, the Foundation of a Virtuous Society: Family Values and Civic Responsibility
6 A Man's Home Is His Castle: The Family and Outside Intervention
7 Bra-Burners and Family Bashers: Feminism, Working Women, Consumerism, and the Family
8 "First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes Mary with a Baby Carriage": Marriage, Sex, and Reproduction
9 Toxic Parents, Supermoms, and Absent Fathers: Putting Parenting in Perspective
10 Pregnant Girls, Wilding Boys, Crack Babies, and the Underclass: The Myth of Black Family Collapse
11 The Crisis Reconsidered
Epilogue Inventing a New Tradition 283(6)
Notes 289(88)
Select Bibliography 377(4)
Index 381

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