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The way we never were : American families and the nostalgia trap / Stephanie Coontz.

By: Coontz, Stephanie.
Material type: TextTextPublisher: New York, NY : BasicBooks, 2000, c1992Edition: Pbk. ed with new introduction.Description: viii, 391 p. ; 21 cm.ISBN: 0465090974 (pbk.); 9780465090976 (pbk.).Subject(s): Families -- United States -- History -- 20th century | United States -- Social conditions | NostalgiaAdditional physical formats: Online version:: Way we never were.DDC classification: 306.85 Other classification: HD 375
Contents:
The way we wish we were : defining the family crisis -- "Leave it to Beaver" and "Ozzie and Harriet" : American families in the 1950s -- "My mother was a saint" : individualism, gender myths, and the problem of love -- We always stood on our own two feet : self-reliance and the American family -- Strong families, the foundation of a virtuous society : the family and civic responsibility -- A man's home is his castle : the family and outside intervention -- Bra-burners and family bashers : feminism, working women, consumerism, and the family -- "First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Mary with a baby carriage" : marriage, sex, and reproduction -- Toxic parents, supermoms, and absent fathers : putting parenting in perspective -- Pregnant girls, wilding boys, crack babies, and the underclass : the myth of black family collapse -- The crisis reconsidered.
Summary: Looks at two centuries of American family life and shatters myths and misconceptions about the past.
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
HQ535 .C643 2000 (Browse shelf) Available 0000002025278

Includes bibliographical references (p. [377]-379) and index.

The way we wish we were : defining the family crisis -- "Leave it to Beaver" and "Ozzie and Harriet" : American families in the 1950s -- "My mother was a saint" : individualism, gender myths, and the problem of love -- We always stood on our own two feet : self-reliance and the American family -- Strong families, the foundation of a virtuous society : the family and civic responsibility -- A man's home is his castle : the family and outside intervention -- Bra-burners and family bashers : feminism, working women, consumerism, and the family -- "First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Mary with a baby carriage" : marriage, sex, and reproduction -- Toxic parents, supermoms, and absent fathers : putting parenting in perspective -- Pregnant girls, wilding boys, crack babies, and the underclass : the myth of black family collapse -- The crisis reconsidered.

Looks at two centuries of American family life and shatters myths and misconceptions about the past.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Arguing that ``Americans have tended to discover a crisis in family structure and standards whenever they are in the midst of major changes in socioeconomic structure and standards,'' Coontz puts contemporary challenges facing the family into accessible historical perspective. The author of The Social Origins of Private Life: A History of American Families, 1600-1900 ( LJ 2/1/89) persuasively dispels the myths and stereotypes of ``traditional'' family values as the product of the postwar era (including 1950s sitcoms). Focusing on gender roles, parenting, self-reliance, privacy, and sexual relations, the historian provocatively explores the effects of changes made by women, blacks, and homosexuals on the institution of the family. For academic and larger public library social science collections.--James E. Van Buskirk, San Francisco P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

Coontz attempts to debunk "white, middle-class myths," or stereotypes, about families of the past and present. Her main objective is to reduce what she perceives as anger and guilt that today's family members experience as they try to live up to stereotypes of the perfect "Leave It to Beaver" family. Coontz's assumption seems to be that today's families are burdened by legacies of families that have accepted and have perpetuated the stereotypes foisted onto the public. The 11 chapters deal with various family-life issues from a historical social perspective. There are good documentation and endnotes for each chapter. The book is weakened by its allegiance sometimes strident to feminist dogma (especially in Chapter 7). In view of Coontz's stated objectives and political overtones, her work will probably help those people who have fairly liberal views about family life and can easily accept alternative lifestyles. The historical vignettes are interesting and, though geared to prove Coontz's points, are still informative. Adequate subject index. General; advanced undergraduate. R.C. Myers; Central Washington Univ.

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Stephanie Coontz is a social analyst, family historian, writer, and a professor. She teaches at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Her research interests include the historical accuracy, myths, and facts that surround our present concept of traditional family values. <p> In her book, The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap, Coontz disputes many of the myths about the decade of the 1950s. Her book, The Way We Really Are: Coming to Terms with America's Changing Families explores new economic and social pressure put on families. Coontz is a frequent commentator on CNN and NBC news programs and has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show. She was the keynote speaker at the Thirteenth Annual Maine Women's Studies Conference in 1998. <p> (Bowker Author Biography)

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