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The New Wife: The Evolving Role of the American Wife Hardcover – February 14, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Nonetheless Press (February 14, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932053085
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932053081
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,508,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...writes about the evolving role of the American wife with a scholar's passion, sociologist's curiosity and writer's grace..." -- Sidney Offit, Author of MEMOIR OF THE BOOKIE'S SON

"A compelling analysis of wives and how important they really are." -- Lewis Burke Frumkes, Author of HOW TO RAISE YOUR IQ BY EATING GIFTED CHILDREN

"Barash puts a human face on her profile of the American wife." -- Associated Press, Pauline M. Millard, March 11, 2004

"If you're a wife, it will be an irresistible temptation to look yourself up and see how you compare." -- Sherry Suib Cohen, Author of SECRETS OF A VERY GOOD MARRIAGE

"In this fascinating book, Barash weaves the poignant voices of wives across the generations with her own trenchant observations." -- Leora Tanenbaum, Author of CATFIGHT: RIVALRIES AMONG WOMEN--FROM DIETS TO DATING, FROM THE BOARDROOM TO THE DELIVERY ROOM

"The book comes to life with the voices of many candid women and ends all to soon. Recommended." -- Library Journal, December 2003

"The wives' issues come alive as Barash coaxes out the voices of women who married in each decade." -- ForeWord Magazine, Bobbye Middendorf, March/April 2004

From the Publisher

The status of "wife" is the most desired role for millions of women across America. But isn't it time to take a good look at what the role of "wife" entails?

Women's relationship expert Susan Shapiro Barash says, "Over 80 percent of women--whether divorced, widowed, or never married; old, young, or in mid-life--claim that being a wife is their goal."

In Barash's newest book, THE NEW WIFE, she delves into an exploration of the modern wife through the decades, from the 1950s to today's 21st century wife.

An eye-opening study of wives of all ages, THE NEW WIFE reveals how deeply a woman's identity is vested in her marriage. Marriage is still a powerful and alluring concept for women yet today, much like its siren call to their mothers, aunts, and grandmothers in decades past.

Barash's meticulous yet touchingly personal summations of five decades of wifing include:

THE FIFTIES WIFE: Kitchens and Carpools - Wives relegated to the home and raising children.
THE SIXTIES WIFE: Hell Unleashed - How the women's movement and the sexual revolution changed the status quo.
THE SEVENTIES WIFE: Blazers as Armor - Wives marched in droves to the workplace, ready to sustain marriages and careers.
THE EIGHTIES WIFE: Flavors of Power - Even as the true believers climbed the corporate ladder the second shift kicked in.
THE NINETIES WIFE: Desperation and Isolation - Worlds apart as stay-at-home moms or working mothers but like-minded in another respect, across-the-board extramarital affairs explode.
THE 21ST CENTURY WIFE - Confident in her choice whether working or not...bearing children or not.
THE ENLIGHTENED WIFE - Each decade of the last half-century has contributed to shaping today's wife, abounding in her accumulated knowledge and experience.
GENERATIONS X and Y - Today's young and future wives exude a confidence never before imagined.

In this breakthrough book interspersed with personal stories of women of all ethnicity, age, and social strata, Barash graphically illuminates the shadowy world of the wife: her dreams, her reality, her progress.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on July 17, 2004
In The New Wife: The Evolving Role Of The American Wife, author Susan Shapiro Barash presents an historical survey on the changing concept and expectation of the role of the modern wife from the 1950s down to the present day. Barash reveals the reasons why American women over the past five decades have continued to want to marry and become wives, as well as their disappointments, pretenses, and resolutions in that domestic role. Of particular interest are the observations regarding how mothering affects marriage, why romance is deemed so important; sexuality in marriage; how the workplace affects being a wife; the truth about egalitarian marriages; the disappointed expectations of the baby boomer wife; infertility; marriage at ages ranging from 25 to 70; and perhaps most important of all, why no universally accepted model exists for being a wife today. The New Wife is an informatively written and unique contribution to contemporary Women's Studies academic library reference collections and personal reading lists.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 6, 2004
I believe that Susan Shapiro Barash is absolutely correct when she describes how it has been in America for the past five decades for wives. Although the role keeps changing, there are many aspects to it that also remain the same. I think it is interesting that she sees a parallel with the young wives of today and the fifties wives, in the sense that these women do not feel pressured to work. The difference is that the young wife today is educated and can have many career opportunities. Yet she likes the idea of having choices (to stay home or to go to work) and of a husband as provider. This kind of honesty, and this new swing backwards, sort of, with a twist, has not been discussed before. I also appreciate the way that the wives thought per decade, since each chapter is a different decade, beginning with the sixties. Barash refers to films of the times, famous women, such as Jackie Kennedy for a sixties wife, Princess Di as an eighties wife, as examples. The real life stories of women work well for me, and gives a sense that the goal of being a wife won't end in the twenty-first century. One also feels less alone when reading this book, as if the complicated role of being a wife is universal. I highly recommend this, it is informative and a pleasure to read.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 8, 2004
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I have followed each read of Barash's books, and while I am a fan of hers, THE NEW WIFE: The Evolving Role of the American Wife, is the one that really speaks to me. Here is a study of the way of the wife over the past fifty years, divided by decade. For wives of every decade, be it the fifties, sixties, seventies and so on, there is a description of the social climate(politics,styles,film stars, famous wives) and mores of that period. What is most interesting to see is how a woman who was married twenty, thirty or forty years ago has acclimated to her role in the decades since then. For example, a woman who was a young wife in 1984 has adapted to changing patterns in the last twenty years, yet she is also a product of her day.
Barash emphasizes how important it remains to many women, of all ages,class and ethnicity, to be a wife. While some wives are more disappointed than others---for example----the baby boomer wife has suffered the most, it seems---the role is a coveted one. And it appears from what Barash has to say ab out the young 'new wife', that this isn't about to change any time soon. A great read for young, middle aged and older women, THE NEW WIFE gives us information we have not had before. FIVE BIG STARS.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 16, 2004
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A must read for all modern wives, and all those wives of fifty years who want to understand the change in being a wife.
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