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Domestic Revolutions: A Social History Of American Family Life [Paperback]

by Steven Mintz, Susan Kellogg
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 3, 1989 002921291X 978-0029212912
The American family has undergone a series of transformations from its socially sanctified role as the center of society to today's private, independent unit. The authors explain just how the family has adapted and endured these changes.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

American family structure has changed radically in the 300 years since patriarchal Puritan days, when it was the basic political, religious and educational unit of state and community, maintain Mintz, University of Houston associate professor of history, and Kellogg, his wife, who teaches anthropology, also at Houston. The authors vividly evoke a diversity of family patterns and experiences among racial and ethnic groups, including Afro-American slave kinship networks. They discuss how changes wrought in working-class families by the agricultural and industrial revolutions, the Great Depression and WW II affected family roles and relationships. Emerging from the relative stability of the 1950s and the largely mythical ideal of the nuclear family, today's aging, individual-oriented society, transformed by a sexual revolution, considers the family in whatever formcohabitation, single-parent households, "blended" families from several marriages, among othersas a means of personal fulfillment for both partners, with public institutions taking over many of its traditional roles. Illustrations.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This clear and comprehensive synthesis of recent scholarship shows that the American family, influenced by circumstance, has undergone great transformations and served various social and economic roles over the years from 1620 to the 1980s. The book is exceptionally valuable for its attention to Native American, Afro-American, and ethnic family organization, and childrearing customs and their influence. Extensive footnotes compensate for the lack of a bibliography, reviewing the literature of the field. A useful text for history and sociology courses, this is also valuable as an overview of a relatively new field.Mary Drake McFeely, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Athens
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: The Free Press (April 3, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 002921291X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0029212912
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #577,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent info, less excellent analysis October 14, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This nearly-twenty-year-old book still has much to commend it: comprehensive scholarship, easy-to-read (though not sparkling or tight) prose style, and no heavy-handed ideological agenda (though the author's values and assumptions aren't hard to discern).

On the down side, there's not much by way of interpretive framework, and what's there wavers between incoherence and airy-fairy hand-waving.

On the former, for instance, the authors seem both (a) to want to see a significant set of fairly stable "family values" that lasted from the late eighteenth to mid-twentieth centuries, which are overthrown by late-twentieth century changes, and (b) to show the overwhelming diversity of family life, and the enormous deviations from the alleged stable values, during the same period. But point (b) seems to prove point (a) wrong.

On the airy-fairy issue, they have this notion of "the family" as resilient, rising to all sorts of challenges and adapting to all sorts of strains. But it's hard to tell what they mean by "the family" in that context, since they identify no core set of traits, no base-line definition, that pervades the enormous range of "families" they so effectively describe. One could just as easily use the info they present to argue that "the family"--meaning the child-producing, and/or sex-regulating unit of society--is, as conservatives fear, becoming decreasingly important among forms of human affiliation, more peripheral to decision-making and social life.

The info-overpowering-the-analysis problem even goes to the paragraph-by-paragraph level.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly readable, very informative May 14, 2006
This is probably my favorite book on U.S. social history. While academic, it's written in a very readable style. The authors make the history of American families extremely interesting, and they shatter some of our more romantic cultural myths. I referred to this book when I wrote my master's thesis on the U.S. household economy of the 1930s during the Great Depression. My first ancestors in this country lived in New England in the early to mid 1600s, so I find these accounts fascinating, as I can imagine how all of my ancestors since that time lived their lives in our developing country and culture. I highly recommend this book to students, history researchers, or the curious casual reader.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book April 17, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
i love this book, is very useful, and everything is very clear and easy to study and understand. I will recommend this book 100%
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4.0 out of 5 stars good but a bit wordy December 30, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found true value in this book however it was so wordy some of the value was infinitely lost by this. i read this for my History of American Family class and it was priceless in value for understanding the history of traditions of nearly all family types through history.
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