Urban Tribes by Ethan Watters
A Generation Redefines Friendship, Family, and Commitment

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Synopsis

The numbers can't be ignored: the current generation of young Americans is delaying marriage longer than any other generation in history. But while the media trumpets this fact in a way that seems designed to scare us, until now no one has really taken the time to understand what people are doing instead.

Driven by his personal desire to understand why his single life stretched far into his thirties, Ethan Watters explores the cultural and social forces that have steered his generation away from the altar-and discovers many reasons to be optimistic about the course his generation has chosen. Central to his thinking is the idea of Urban Tribes: the closely knit communities of friends that spring up during the ever-increasing period of time between college and married life. Tribes are revealed to be the key to understanding this generation, explaining not only why its members are putting off marriage, but also why singles often live outside of families so happily. In the end, Watters makes the case that the tribe years engender the self-respect critical to successful partnerships.

A funny, deeply insightful, and compulsively readable book that dares to suggest that the generation in question just might be interested in more than buying the latest SUV and drinking lattes at the local coffeehouse, Urban Tribes is destined to become one of the most talked-about books of the year.

"This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Urban Tribes redefines the debate over the nature of community and social cohesion in society today. Ethan Watters provides powerful insight into the rise of new kinds of cities and support structures for the growing class of creative, single people inhabiting leading urban centers in the United States and around the world." -Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life
 

About Ethan Watters

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Ethan Watters is a journalist who has written about social trends for publications from Glamour to the New York Times Magazine. Recently married, he lives with his wife in San Francisco, where he helped found the San Francisco Writers' Grotto.
 
Published October 8, 2003 by Bloomsbury USA. 272 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Urban Tribes

The Guardian

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The relentless, heavily ritualised activities of the groups he describes - weekly group dinners, group parties held at the slightest excuse - do suggest a fear of being alone and thinking about the trajectory of your life.

Mar 27 2004 | Read Full Review of Urban Tribes: A Generation Re...

Publishers Weekly

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It's often a white, upper-middle-class, post-college phenomenon (Watters attends a Philadelphia Cinco de Mayo celebration to which, he notes, no Hispanics have been invited), but, finds Watters, "groups that formed later, during the swirl of adult city life, could sometime[s] match the remarkable...

| Read Full Review of Urban Tribes: A Generation Re...

The Best Reviews

Reading Ethan Watters' URBAN TRIBES is like watching an investigative report analyzing the characters and groups depicted in sitcoms such as Friends or Seinfeld.

Nov 23 2003 | Read Full Review of Urban Tribes: A Generation Re...

Ben Casnocha

This review is of Ethan Watters’ book "Urban Tribes," which argues that more 30 somethings are delaying marriage and forming "urban tribes".

Jul 02 2007 | Read Full Review of Urban Tribes: A Generation Re...

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