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Intimate Strangers: Men and Women Together Paperback – June 22, 1990

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"An extraordinarily moving book, filled with striking insights. No one else I know can match Lillian Rubin's ability to combine art and analysis in the presentation of human relations." -- Michael B. Katz, University of Pennsylvania

"Once again, Lillian Rubin decodes human behavior better than anyone else, and she does it with a lively combination of intuitive skill, scholarship and the sound of women's and men's voices sharing their lives." -- Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Ms.

"The beauty of the book is in its tone, which manages to convey that its author is speaking directly to us and is on our side...As a culmination of her many years of work and thought, Lillian Rubin has given us a book that anyone can profit from. I wish I had a stack of them to hand out to all my friends ." -- Joe Cristofalo, San Francisco Chronicle

About the Author

Lillian B. Rubin is an internationally recognized author and social scientist She is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Queens College, C.U.N.Y., in New York and Senior Research Associate at the Institute for the Study of Social Change at the University of California, Berkeley Currently, Dr. Rubin resides on both coasts, spending part of each year in New York City and part in the San Francisco Bay area.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (June 22, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060911344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060911348
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,498,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The title of this book says it perfectly. Men and women are so different and so often, "intimate strangers." I read this book about 20 years ago and found it to be wonderfully useful and insightful in my efforts to understand the crazy making aspects of male/female communication. As an inquisitive, intelligent therapist Lillian Rubin used her unique vantage point to shed light on this confusing and mysterious subject better than anyone else I've come across so far. Since men and women haven't changed very much, I highly recommend it to any student of human nature...or any woman, who is, as I was, just trying to understand it all. You couldn't have a better guide than this author.
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Format: Paperback
If you ever wondered why young women want to badly get married while young men don't, when as middle-aged women after divorce or widowhood prefer to stay single but their male counterparts want to remarry as quickly as possible, then you will get the answers here.
As a female reader, Rubin's book made total sense at 37, but 10 years later, I understand her findings ever better: many women in midlife feel: who needs marriage? But men have grown quite comfortable in their hubby role . "Intimate Strangers" is not an advice book, it merely states the facts of Rubin's research, her interviews with men and women. She is just saying it as it is. If you are a man wondering why things are turning a bit sour now that you have been married for 20 years, this book is for you, and of course, if you are a woman no longer willing to compromise about anything, this book is for you too. It makes us feel a little less guilty and a lot more relaxed knowing we are not the only ones out there, despising the things we do. Time to rethink the institution of marriage and why other forms of partnerships during different phases of our lives are not more tolerated by now.
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Format: Paperback
I remember a few years ago, this book had acheived some fame as a sort of frappucino version of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus." I was never inclined to read such a thing, as my philosophy on the matter is that "women are from mars, pass the beer nuts." However, upon a slight perusal of the thing on a psychologist friend's bookshelf, I couldn't stop myself from reading the whole thing. In fact, I could not help laughing out loud every couple of pages; shucks I was positively roaring with laughter. I do not think I have ever laughed so hard at any book, television comedy, or moving picture farce in years. The upshot of the book was that women want men to share their emotions to increase their "intimacy." Most men resist this. They do not have strong or differentiated feelings on most subjects, and when they do, they often consider them to be private matters; stuff which their wives couldn't relate to anyway. Men simply do not have complicated emotional lives, and what emotions they do have, they do not ascribe great importance to, being more interested in building impressive objects out of plastic and iron, such as monster trucks or nuclear submarines.

On the rare occasions that men are browbeaten by their wives into sharing their feeeeeeeelings (one must pronounce it this way, I think) on a regular basis, the inevitable result was, well, divorce! Of course the author, being a proud posessor of two X chromosomes, still seemed to think this emotion sharing "intimacy" was a good thing (because all women seemed to want it), despite admitting that it generally resulted not in any kind of improved relationship, but breakup!
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