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Life without Father: Compelling New Evidence That Fatherhood and Marriage Are Indispensable for the Good of Children and Society Paperback – March 15, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (March 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674532600
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674532601
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #655,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Popenoe follows in the footsteps of David Blankenhorne's Fatherless America (LJ 1/95) with this second major study of American fatherhood. The author, a professor of sociology at Rutgers University, is also cochair of the Council on Families in America. Popenoe's research findings on fatherlessness parallel many of Blankenhorne's. Most notably, children from single-parent families are more prone to poverty, juvenile delinquency, and dropping out of school than their two-parent counterparts. The chief cause: lack of a father role model and difficulties of single-parent supervision. While the author does not negate the value of substitute father figures as does Blankenhorne, he concurs there should be a reversal of the "new family" trend back to traditional nuclear families, with strong emphasis on fatherhood and marriage as basic cultural fundamentals. Popenoe concludes that fathers are indispensable for children and society and that the growing rate of fatherlessness is a looming disaster. Essential for public and academic libraries.?Michael A. Lutes, Univ. of Notre Dame Libs., Ind.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Every unhappy family may be unhappy in its own way, but a common denominator of familial misery is an absent father. To convert doubters of that proposition, sociologist Popenoe offers conclusions pulled from empirical studies, which overlay his frequent enunciation of the child's viewpoint: don't most kids in single-mother households prefer, if given a choice, also having a good father in the family? That 40 percent don't have one occupies Popenoe's search for the root of the problem, which takes him on a historical excursion through the American family from Puritan patriarchy to contemporary patterns of self-defined families. In contemporary patterns, Popenoe detects a source of fatherlessness in "radical individualism." Lest some readers recoil from that thesis, Popenoe takes pains not to idealize the Victorian or the 1950s nuclear family: he admits their stifling aspects but also insists that the responses to them--easy divorce and the elimination of social sanctions against illegitimacy--ineluctably lead to current rates of fatherlessness. Stern but readable analysis similar to David Blankenhorn's Fatherless America (1995). Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
With all of the various problems associated with the youth of our country - violence, drug use, sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy, lower academic achievements, etc. - it is time that we consider how fathers can make a positive difference. Popenoe makes a strong case using authentic, supportive evidence for his conclusions about the unique contributions of father and the need to restore marriage. Even with research citations, the book is not difficult to read except for the pain of perhaps "having your toes stepped on". But Popenoe manages to do this with tact and honesty as well as offer comprehensive solutions in which everyone can participate to help our nation's children. I would recommend this book whether you are a parent, educator, or in some other profession involving children and families.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 29, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Author marshals significant amount of factual and statisical
information to justify the importance of intact families. The subject matter is "politically incorrect" considering that any group of disparate individuals may call themselves
a family now days but Popenoe argues persuasively that the
best conditions for raising emotionally healthy children are
in families units containing the biological father. He also
uses the emerging field of evolutionary psychology to bolster his arguments. Try bringing up the topic of importance of biological fathers with your acquaintances to find out how loaded this subject is.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C. Hicks on July 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Popenoe discusses the effects of children being raised in broken homes and clearly illustrates the research that indicates that children need the support of both biological parents. The book is accessible to the lay reader and is a real eye opener that many of the family policies adopted by the U.S. over the past half century are contributing factors for increases in child abuse and reduced child achievement in education. This was not only an enjoyable read, but and interesting one as well.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John DeRosa on December 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I do know from research and personal experience that the issue of Life Without Father is what is bringing down the quality of life in the U.S. Fathers are needed. Who will be initiating boys to be men??
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