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Marriage Confidential: Love in the Post-Romantic Age Kindle Edition

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Between the World and Me
2015 National Book Awards - Nonfiction Winner
Get your copy of this year's National Book Award winner for nonfiction, "Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Hardcover | Kindle book | See more winners

Editorial Reviews


“The personal is political after all. This first big history of the marriages of the post-feminist generation tells a riveting story of how socially empowered women-including many who opted out-and their mates are still struggling to find happiness in their personal lives.”

From the Back Cover

Marriage Confidential tackles this question with bracing candor, taking us inside a world where romantic ideas have given way to a "post-romantic" mood and a fair number of marriages end up "semi-happy." It's a world where the husbands of "workhorse wives" pursue the Having It All dream that married women have abandoned; where children have migrated from the children's table to the centerpiece; and where technology, demography, and economy place unprecedented stresses on marital fidelity. Among other examples of marriage trailblazers, Haag even presents a case for how updated ideas of non-monogamy might be an option for the future.

Uniquely weaving together cultural commentary, memoir, storytelling, history, and research, Marriage Confidential gives us a riveting glimpse of what the future of marriage might look like.

Product Details

  • File Size: 641 KB
  • Print Length: 355 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0061719293
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; Reprint edition (May 31, 2011)
  • Publication Date: May 31, 2011
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004FEF6QU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,765 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Pamela Haag began her professional life as an academic, earning a Ph.D. in history from Yale after attending Swarthmore College. Her writing spans a wide and unusual spectrum, from academic scholarship to memoir with a focus on women's issues, feminism, and American culture. She has worked as Director of Research for the AAUW, a national nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., which focuses on gender equity in education; as a speechwriter; and has written numerous personal and opinion essays in a variety of venues, from NPR to the American Scholar, the Christian Science Monitor to the Michigan Quarterly Review. She has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, and post-doctoral fellowships at both Brown and Rutgers University. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Pippa Lee VINE VOICE on April 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Once upon a time and if we wanted society's approval, we needed to get married in order to have sex, children and financial security. Today, thanks to birth control, education, women's earning power and changing mores, marriage is no longer an imperative. It's a choice. However, as author Pamela Haag finds out, in spite of all the freedoms modern generations enjoy, marriage can still be as conventional and confining as it was in our parents' times.

In "Marriage Confidential," Ms. Haag argues that modern couples are increasingly susceptible to a malaise she calls "marriage melancholy." Husband and wife profess their love for each other and are committed to their children. To their families and friends, their marriage is a happy one. However, in private, both spouses are besieged by feelings of doubts, of "something not being quite right," and of sadness. Unable to pinpoint the root of their discontent, they settle into a low stress, low-conflict, semi-happy marriage.

Based on research literature on marriage, information glimpsed out of online discussions and groups, the results of two surveys, interviews, personal experiences resulting from her going "undercover" and on reflections of her own marriage, Ms. Haag uncovers the reasons of today's marital dissatisfaction in the "Have-It-All/Do-It-All" syndrome, the unrealistic expectations of parenthood perfection and online cheating. The first two factors have contributed to the spouses' disassociation with their identities as adults with intimate needs. The third one undermines (and denies) the last pillar of traditional marriage: monogamy. Curiously, Ms. Hagg seems to see monogamy as the obstacle toward marital fulfillment today.
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88 of 105 people found the following review helpful By Brenda Frank VINE VOICE on May 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Haag presents offers an analysis of contemporary marriage in the post-romantic age of workhorse wives, royal children, undersexed spouses, and rebel couples who are rewriting the rules. The fundamental problem with "Marriage Confidential" is that the writing style obscures its content.

It is very difficult to absorb the subject matter of this book due to the distraction caused by Haag's strange choice of words, confusing, unclear prose and inaccurate writing. The text is hopped up with pseudo-intellectual vocabulary, often used inappropriately, which does nothing more than confuse the reader. Sample words: jeremiad and charivari - both of which are used incorrectly. Why use "transmogrify" when you could use "transform"? If such word choices are intended to impress the reader, in actuality they undermine the book's substance by making it less accessible, annoying this reader.

Here's a sample sentence: "Emily loves to play `family,' and in this game, she ventriloquizes her parents' marriage with what sounds like chilling concision."

Emily is not "ventriloquizing," but parodying, mimicking or imitating her parents' marriage dialogue. Further, "concision" seems irrelevant in this sentence, although "accuracy" would be appropriate.

Haag describes the term "bromance" as being included in the "Oxford English Dictionary. This dictionary defines "bromance" as "a close but nonsexual relationship between two men." Webster's is consistent with Oxford, defining "bromance" as a close but nonsexual friendship between men." Haag's next sentence defines "bromances" as "crushes" among avowedly heterosexual men, directly conflicting with the use of the term as defined by Oxford.
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48 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Aoife VINE VOICE on June 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I received this book for free through the Amazon Vine program.

This is the worst book I have read in a long time, in several senses of the word "worst." In fact, the only thing that kept me reading to the end was that I wanted to be able to write a complete review detailing everything that is wrong with it. Starting with the actual writing itself, there were two problems right off the bat. First, as other reviewers have noted, the ridiculously stilted language, which would be one problem on its own, but the fact that Haag misuses words, sometimes to the point of outright malapropisms, is another yet. Also it is clear before you are even half way through the first chapter that Haag is not certain about what kind of book she is writing. Hard nonfiction, with the research to back up her assertions? If that was the goal, the book fails miserably, as the research presented is thin indeed. Creative nonfiction, a kind of meditation on the current state of marriage? As such this book also fails, as the writing is too superficial and glib to be called "creative." She muddies the water further by dragging in her own marriage and her poor husband John, who is thanked in foreward and acknowledgements alike, but apparently is also a fine example of a disappointing, dull, passionless husband. This was a bad idea as it spoiled Haag herself as a sympathetic narrator; I spent the rest of the book feeling vaguely mortified for her husband and child, who also gets dragged in as evidence of kids-as-marriage-killers.

If you share Haag's perspective on what life ought to be, you might find this book more appealling. To give you an idea of her bias, she defines being grounded (as in rooted in a stable place) as a negative early in the book.
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