Marriage, a History by Stephanie Coontz
From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage

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Synopsis

Just when the clamor over "traditional" marriage couldn’t get any louder, along comes this groundbreaking book to ask, "What tradition?" In Marriage, a History, historian and marriage expert Stephanie Coontz takes readers from the marital intrigues of ancient Babylon to the torments of Victorian lovers to demonstrate how recent the idea of marrying for love is—and how absurd it would have seemed to most of our ancestors. It was when marriage moved into the emotional sphere in the nineteenth century, she argues, that it suffered as an institution just as it began to thrive as a personal relationship. This enlightening and hugely entertaining book brings intelligence, perspective, and wit to today’s marital debate.
 

About Stephanie Coontz

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Stephanie Coontz is a member of the faculty of Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, where she is a historian and an expert on American culture.
 
Published February 28, 2006 by Penguin Books. 452 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Marriage, a History

Kirkus Reviews

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Coontz (Family Studies/Evergreen State) turns from scrutiny of the family (The Way We Really Are, 1997, etc.) to examination of marriage itself.

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The New York Times

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“When people take some responsibility for why and how the first marriage ended,” he says, “that allows them to work on the challenges of a new relationship in a more productive way, or decide to not take a problematic relationship any further.” And when they do establish those relation...

Dec 19 2010 | Read Full Review of Marriage, a History: From Obe...

The New York Times

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In the end, Coontz's book raises fewer questions about the subject of marriage than it does about the subject of nonfiction in general -- about the reasons we read it.

Jun 12 2005 | Read Full Review of Marriage, a History: From Obe...

The Globe and Mail

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Elizabeth Abbott's new book is a kaleidoscope of entertaining facts and vignettes about marriages past and present.

Jan 22 2010 | Read Full Review of Marriage, a History: From Obe...

Bookmarks Magazine

It may not be Eat, Pray, Love II, but Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage is another entertaining journey readers will relish with Gilbert as the tour guide.

Jan 03 2010 | Read Full Review of Marriage, a History: From Obe...

Bookmarks Magazine

… The major flaw in Coontz’s book is that she does not adequately wrestle with the problems facing marriage today."

Jan 03 2008 | Read Full Review of Marriage, a History: From Obe...

The New Yorker

Single women, Gilbert says, are more successful in their careers than married ones;

Jan 11 2010 | Read Full Review of Marriage, a History: From Obe...

California Literary Review

In her final chapter, “Uncharted Territory,” Coontz notes that: Highly-educated Americans are more likely to think remaining single or having a child out of wedlock is acceptable, but are also more likely to marry and less likely to have children as singles Conversely, Americans with lower income...

Apr 22 2007 | Read Full Review of Marriage, a History: From Obe...

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