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Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage Paperback – February 28, 2006
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"This is not the book I thought I was going to write," Coontz admits. She intended to show that marriage was not in crisis; merely changing in expected ways. But her exhaustive research suggested the opposite was true. Tracing matrimonys path from ancient times (when some cultures lacked a word for "love" and the majority of pairings were attempts to seize land or family names) through present day, she closely examines the many external forces at play in shaping modern marriage. Coontz details how societys attempts to toughen this institution, have actually made it more fragile. Her rich talent for analyzing events, statistics, and theories from a myriad of sourcesand enabling the reader to put them all in perspectivemake this provocative history book an essential resource.--Liane Thomas --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
In MARRIAGE, A HISTORY: FROM OBEDIENCE TO INTIMACY OR HOW LOVE CONQUERED MARRIAGE Coontz fights nostalgia further by a fascinating and far-ranging study of the history of marriage in Western civilization. What is shocking is learning that so far from being a static, traditional relationship with a fundamental shape and form, marriage is instead a constantly evolving institution that has altered numerous times in the past thousand or so years in response to various social needs or pressures. Changing societal values, alterations in the material conditions at a particular point in time, or even changing ideas about romance have all exerted enormous influence on the understanding and practice of marriage at any particular time. Her discussion essentially renders virtually all right wing rhetoric about the need to protect "family values" or "marriage" utter nonsense.Read more ›
In the absence of formal legal rules and governments, powerful families or tribes generally ruled over territories. Marriages were used to forge alliances among rulers. In the lower classes marriage was an economic necessity - a solitary individual found it almost impossible to survive. Marriages were not formally sanctioned, though the Church in the Middle Ages attempted to impose some control. Fundamentally, the intent of two consenting adults established a marriage. With the rise of constitutional governments and individual rights, women gained some ability to withstand forced marriages, but were still seen as subservient to husbands - not equals. Women because of their "differences" were seen as being suited to the domestic sphere only, but many women chafed at that arrangement.
There is no doubt that the twentieth century saw more changes in marriages and other living arrangements among adults than in all previous eras combined. The changes were uneven, often depending on the state of the economy. The changes of the 1920s, in which potential partners followed their feelings, somewhat regressed during the Great Depression of the 30s.Read more ›
I, however, being rather agnostic, enjoyed it immensely, and learned QUITE a lot! The various views on family structure and what defined a marriage over the centuries was illuminating, and I found myself quoting it to anyone in reach (hence my problem above). It's tilted toward Western culture in the last part of the book, being focused on the American history of marriage, but it's still an excellent read for anyone wanting to see how marriage was looked at in the past.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really like the book; however, I wish there was an audio book to accompany it.Published 19 days ago by Lorri Seibert
Fascinating read; a lot of interesting facts and information about marriages around the world.Published 3 months ago by lbr1022
This book is very thoroughly researched and very interesting book. I had no idea how our concept
of marriage has changed throughout the decades. Read more
I read a quote from this book that someone posted on social media in response to the normal clamor about "traditional marriage. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Michelle Martin
A fascinating look at the many kinds of marriage that have evolved over the centuries. It is especially relevant at this time when Kennedy on the Supreme Court used it to make... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Michael
For a while, I am married to this book. The full title is a bit misleading. It is about love but it modifies your picture of everything you know or think about people, humans,... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Bill