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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating social inquiry, October 24, 2000
By 
Michael Shapiro (Sebastopol, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: To Have and to Hold: Marriage, the Baby Boom, and Social Change (Paperback)
Most people believe the feminist revolution of the 1970s was the force that helped women re-draw the boundaries of family relationships, but this incisive exploration of the of baby-boomers' parents reveals the seeds of change were sown in the 1950s. History professor Jessica Weiss' book is a work of rigorous academic research, yet her lively and conversational style makes it enjoyable reading for anyone. Weiss explodes the myths of 1950s conformity showing how the dramatic social changes of the latter 20th century began with the more subtle shifts of the '50s. And she doesn't simply spin theories -- she updates a study that traced families starting the in 1950s, so we can hear the words of women facing the challenge of evolving roles.
To Have and To Hold starts with an exploration of how youthful marriage and early childbearing led to a redefinition of marital roles and goes on to consider how working women influenced the family's balance of power. Later chapters examine fatherhood, the quest for family togetherness, and the impact of divorce. And there's a fascinating evaluation of myths propagated by magazines with a sharp-eyed juxtaposition to what was really going on. Weiss even takes on Freidan's classic "Feminine Mystique" showing where it was on target and where it oversimplified issues. I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking a fuller understanding of how the great social quakes of our time have affected our families.
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4.0 out of 5 stars perspective, emerging, January 4, 2014
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This review is from: To Have and to Hold: Marriage, the Baby Boom, and Social Change (Paperback)
In lucid, enjoyable prose Jessica Weiss sheds vital historical light on women's transition from homemaking into the job market. Using an archive of detailed interviews with middle-class couples from the 1950s to 1980s, she shows how this social change began in the Depression, World War II, and post-War eras, rather than roaring onto the scene in 1969.
She allows the voices of the interviewees to demonstrate for themselves that 1950s couples struggled to balance child-rearing, romance, increased demands for personal scope, women's need for independence, and yes, already, rising mortgage costs--which, interestingly, one man attributes to unscrupulously high bank loans to double-income families.
But Weiss mentions volunteer work only in passing. She cites only wage-earning labor as proof that "[p]ostwar women's excursions outside the domestic realm were not imited to consumption and carpooling," and ignores the social value, and work experience, of women's service to their communities.
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To Have and to Hold: Marriage, the Baby Boom, and Social Change
To Have and to Hold: Marriage, the Baby Boom, and Social Change by Jessica Weiss (Paperback - April 15, 2000)
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