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Marriage and Caste in America: Separate and Unequal Families in a Post-Marital Age Hardcover – November 30, 2006
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America could save itself a lot of trouble by paying attention to what [Hymowitz] writes. (Theodore Dalrymple, author of Our Culture, What’s Left of It)
A sobering investigation of the widening gap in the American social structure that's being caused by new attitudes toward marriage. (Ron Haskins, co-director, Center on Children and Families, The Brookings Institution)
The most fascinating (but grimmest) sections...deal with child-rearing skills in unmarried America. (Charlotte Hays The Wall Street Journal)
Marriage and Caste in America should provoke serious thought about how marriage has become a class issue―and what we can do about it. (Christine B. Whelan New York Post)
Essential. (David Brooks The New York Times)
Hymowitz...has concluded that the family revolution [is both] bad news for children [and] has had the effect of stratifying the country as a whole. (Steve Goddard's History Wire)
Hymowitz provides an arresting diagnosis of American social ills. (Cheryl Miller The American Conservative)
Hymowitz has the gift of being able to convey complicated ideas, theories, and history in lucid and witty language. (Lisa Schiffren COMMENTARY)
A strong case for the value of marriage. (Today's Machine World)
A short and readable volume.... Hymowitz has surely contributed...to creating the present hopeful moment for mainstream America. (Claudia Anderson The Weekly Standard)
Kay Hymowitz makes a persuasive case in Marriage and Caste in America that the best social program is actually marriage. (David Forsmark Front Page Magazine)
[The author] has the gift of being able to convey complicated ideas, theories, and history in language that is lucid and-most precious of all in discussions of marriage and family-witty. It is a pleasure to read her essays....an intelligent, compelling case....Clear and forceful conclusions about what is missing from the impoverished lives that she describes so well. (Book Review Digest)
Hymowitz cogently lays out a case that when it comes to reducing poverty, economics and family structure can't be separated. (Newsobserver.Com)
Beautifully written tour de force of contemporary American family life. (W Bradford Wilcox, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Virginia and fellow of the Witherspoon Institute First Things)
Powerful...unflinching...analysis of this crisis of the black abandonment of marriage. (Gregory J. Sullivan Evening Bulletin)
[A] fascinating and informational [book] that you ought to read. (Dr. Laura Schlessinger)
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The good news from this book is that Gen X young people, having seen and felt the horrific effects of easy divorces by Baby Boomer parents, are becoming more and more committed to staying together in traditional marriages. The bad news, as Hymowitz demonstrates, is that American society is becoming more and more bifurcated.Read more ›
Affluent families are governed by what Hymowitz dubs "The Mission." Affluent parents invest tremendous amounts of time and energy into their children in order to prepare them for a successful life. Even socially liberal women recognize the importance of enlisting fathers in the process of raising children. Heartbreakingly, this is not emulated in the broken homes of the underclass. There is an adage that goes, "When America catches a cold, black America catches pneumonia," and this is sadly true when it comes to the breakdown of the family. Hymowitz describes childrearing in the black community, where in many inner cities the rates of out of wedlock childbirths are nearly 80%. Unmarried parents may start out with good intentions, but over time they drift in different directions. When the black mothers try to get the fathers to invest more time and energy into their children, they are derided for "actin' white."
Other books that people who read this will like are ...Read more ›
"In 1960 ...the percentage of high school dropouts who were never-married mothers barely hit 1 percent...Moreover, almost all women stayed married" (p 18). How things have changed. Now our illegitimacy rate hovers at 37% and the majority of children spend at least part of their childhood without both their natural parents.
A huge number of young women have simply lost the life script that would lead them to marriage. And the result is tragic.
Children of single mothers are at huge risk for emotional problems, drug abuse, suicide, sexual abuse, and school problems. There are only a tiny minority of prisoners in our prisons who grew up with both their natural parents.
Worse, these problems do not go away after a few years. They are lifelong, rolling like waves through years of further troubled relationships and poverty. And even worse than that, none of the palliatives most people suggest have helped. Head Start is a failure. As research in Sweden shows, no matter how much money the government spends, children of single mothers tend never to do as well as the children of married parents.
Nor can the presence of a father figure later on help much. In fact, statistics show that second marriages or later father figures tend to increase, not decrease, the amount of trouble for the child.
It's apparent even among the elite. "Cornell professor Jennifer Gerner was baffled some years ago when she n noticed that only about 10% of her students came from divorced families' (p 24).
So if our breezy modern attitude toward marriage is harming a huge number of children, what can be done?
Anyone interested in this subject will want to read the best book on the subject, "The Abolition of Marriage" by Maggie Gallagher.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I agree with the message. I've heard it elsewhere. I just think the writing is terrible.
There are literally no sources throughout the book too.. Read more
This is a thought-provoking book. It examines the destructive effects of illegitimate childbearing on the mothers, the children, the absent fathers, and on society. Read morePublished on April 21, 2014 by Louise Radanovich
However much the author uses the word caste, what's really meant here is class. But since lower class qualifies as fighting words in the English-speaking world, the word caste is... Read morePublished on November 7, 2013 by anopinionatedwoman
This is a copy/paste from my Goodreads.com review
I didn't realize this book would focus so heavily on the disintegration of marriage among the Black Culture as this subject... Read more
This was actually for my brother also, he is going to send it to me when he finishes it. He said he could not put it down.Published on August 28, 2012 by Sheila Turner
This book should be read along with stephanie Coontz's book, "The Way We Really Are" I will use this book to engage the conversation on marriage in America. Read morePublished on June 6, 2012 by Britt Starghill
This collection of essays takes a closer look at family structure in the US, including where we are, how we got here, where we should go, and why we may not.Published on October 7, 2011 by Chris
Hymowitz takes a critical look at the institution of marriage in America, why it failed during the 1960s, and how future generations are effected today. Read morePublished on December 8, 2010 by Paige
I first learned of the author's book when I heard her speak at the 2007 Smart Marriage Conference in Denver. Read morePublished on June 2, 2009 by Evan Horner