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Joined at the Heart: The Transformation of the American Family Paperback – Bargain Price, November 1, 2003

3.1 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"For us, as for most Americans," write the former vice-president and his wife, "family is our bedrock, and we believe the strength of the American family is the nation's bedrock." But the American family has changed substantially in the last half century and so have the cultural and economic conditions under which it exists. The families the Gores have encountered in a decade of research reflect these changes: one couple has children from the husband's three different relationships, a gay white couple adopts two black children, a single mother struggles with poverty. The couple add stories from their own marriage and consult with historians, sociologists, psychologists and educators, giving the American family the same comprehensive treatment Al's Earth in the Balance gave the environment. Al and Tipper examine subjects as diverse as the increased divorce rate, the parent-teen gap, dual-income households and the health problems associated with sleep deprivation. They divide the book into themes, including love, communication, work, play and community, and show how these factors influence one another, taking a holistic approach to the underlying problems affecting today's families. Yet although they declare America should "provide every possible support to those most important to us," they make very few firm recommendations on government policy; those reading with an eye toward identifying planks in another Gore presidential campaign will have their work cut out for them. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Coauthoring this very readable work, the Gores affirm their respect and support for culturally and structurally variant American families, loving individuals committed to each other's welfare. Based on personal experiences and interviews with others in traditional and nontraditional relationships, the authors offer a sampling of caring individuals struggling to balance family, work, play, and community to support one another, adults and children, together with the future of this country. The Gores relate these families' experiences to the environments in which they live, offering a critique of the social programs needed to support successful family life: affordable shelter, reliable and competent child care, pre- and post-school time supervised activities, employee family-leave provisions, well-run community facilities, and services for all age levels. They argue that it is increasingly critical to maintain and grow our country's various sources of "social capital," to understand and support families, the too often unacknowledged vital units of our American society. This convincing, multiresourced work is recommended for public and academic library purchase. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/02; also released this November is The Spirit of the Family, a photography book edited by the Gores.-Ed.]-Suzanne W. Wood, formerly with SUNY Coll. of Technology at Alfre.
--Suzanne W. Wood, formerly with SUNY Coll. of Technology at Alfred
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0805074503
  • ASIN: B000H2MR8Y
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,118,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I was shocked and truly disappointed when the Gores decided not to run in '04. However, I was also disappointed in this book of theirs.
The Gores write about how the 'family' is changing, but they don't really define what `family' is. In other words, what is essential to 'family' which cannot change? What is necessary? Are college roommates 'family'? Are co-workers 'family'? Are people who ride the bus together 'family'? I think the Gores fail to make a distinction between the `family' and `community' -- possibly in the hopes of being all-inclusive. As a result, they're political correctness ends up turning the entity of the family into a watery, vanilla mush.
An additional disappointment was that the Gores make very few suggestions/recommendations on how to improve or strengthen the family. They site statistics and problems, but no answers. That's frustrating. They spent an entire book on the subject, but don't have any solutions?
The Gores explore many ways in which the idea of family is being redefined. However, I wish they had explained why some of those changes are 'bad' and some are 'good'. That is, day-care is viewed as bad, but alternative family make-up is viewed as good. What are they using to determine their what the family should be? Is it personal preference? Is it unchangable principle? Is it polling data? This is unclear.
In short, this book is little more than a few personal experiences and some general observations. It could have been so much more.
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Format: Hardcover
Al Gore and his fawning wife aim to create a portrait of the family as a way of establishing his street cred should he decide to (hopefully, for the benefit of his Republican benefactors) run for president again. Simply put the book is a naive, sentimental and sentenetious ode to piousness. The piousness to which I allude here is not piousness in the religious sense, but rather piousness to Democrats' ideals: equality, egalitarianism, sentiment, romance, et cetera. While his views on homosexuals are admirable and slightly interesting, so much of his words are strained and so much of his prose is calculated that the book ought not be called 'Joined At the Heart', but, rather, ought to be a play on Jack Welch's 'Straight from the Gut': 'Straight from a Political Consultant.' If you have ever heard a spin doctor try to contextualize a flippant remark made by a politician (think Ari Fleischer covering up for a gaffe by Paul O'Neill) you will have an idea of the mess that is this book. It tries to appease every constituency except that of the far right and offend none and in doing so devolves into a depressing mediocrity that is at the abject center of Democrats' listlessness in recent elections. Save yourself the money and buy a book by Dr. Seuss if you want insight into the nature of the world.
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By A Customer on January 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Are you kidding, this vomit should be banned from the reading list of any sentient human, especially American humans. Their portrayal of "family" is a joke. These folks are disfunctional at a basic level and they're merely trying to turn political noteriety and a liberal TV media soapbox into cash, while people still remember their names.
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Format: Hardcover
I see that as of today, ..., Al's book is ranked 50,034 on Amazon. Seems a little high. This is a tricky book, because, although it's a good non-narcotic substitute for sleeping pills, when you dip into the well of Al Gore's mind, you have to be careful not to slip over the line into narcolepsy. Incredibly boring stuff, by a true stiff. I skimmed the first few chapters in the bookstore, and found myself nodding off still standing. You just gotta admit that Al is a powerful writer...better than Sominex!
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Format: Hardcover
That was sarcasm...
I read through a little more than half this book when one thing became clear - Mr. Gore wrote this book not for the message, but for the face time it would get him in trying to make another run for the White House. There are a number of good books available about the family. I suggest you get one of them rather than this one.
I swear, the five star reviews shown here were authored by Al or Tipper.
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Format: Hardcover
I read the book with an open mind, but in the end, I could not escape the conclusion that politicians do not make the best sociologists. As for organization and logical presentation of materials - It was not stellar and there was way too much political drivel and platform pushing to really qualify the book as a resource about family. On a side note, I was surprised to learn that a book claiming to be an all encompassing book about family did not refer to, quote or use any information from Dr. James Dobson from Focus on the Family. Seems he meets all the requirements as an expert on the family. The book was just too political for my leisure time reading.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a book that describes the essence of family. It is about being there for each other. It is about loving through bad and good times. It is about a bond that cannot be broken by miles or time, and it goes beyond blood. That is the message one receives upon reading this very introspective book. It also gives a closer look at the Gore family, and the love Al and Tipper shared with their own children. So many times those on the right in this country who beat their Bibles, try to preach to people that they corner the market on family, love, and morality. They only show their intolerance however, by attacking a family man and real Christian like Al Gore, who sees Christ's message of loving thy neighbor as thyself and puts it into action. A family is a mother, father, and children, yes, but it can also be an Aunt, an Uncle, or a friend. Anyone who gives us the love and support we need, and nurtures us through the important days of our lives, is our family. Al and Tipper Gore weaved this theme well in their book, Joined At The Heart, and they touched mine.
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