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Publisher's Summary

In a provocative, groundbreaking work, National Magazine Award finalist Rebecca Traister, "the most brilliant voice on feminism in this country" (Anne Lamott), traces the history of unmarried women in America who, through social, political, and economic means, have radically shaped our nation.

For legions of women, living single isn't news; it's life. In 2009, the award-winning journalist Rebecca Traister started All the Single Ladies - a book she thought would be a work of contemporary journalism - about the 21st-century phenomenon of the American single woman. It was the year the proportion of American women who were married dropped below 50 percent, and the median age of first marriages, which had remained between 20 and 22 years old for nearly a century (1890-1980), had risen dramatically to 27.

But over the course of her vast research and more than 100 interviews with academics, social scientists, and prominent single women, Traister discovered a startling truth: The phenomenon of the single woman in America is not a new one. And historically, when women were given options beyond early heterosexual marriage, the results were massive social change - temperance, abolition, secondary education, and more. Today, only 20 percent of Americans are wed by age 29, compared to nearly 60 percent in 1960. The Population Reference Bureau calls it a "dramatic reversal".

All the Single Ladies is a remarkable portrait of contemporary American life and how we got here, through the lens of the single American woman. Covering class, race, and sexual orientation and filled with vivid anecdotes from fascinating contemporary and historical figures, All the Single Ladies is destined to be a classic work of social history and journalism. Exhaustively researched, brilliantly balanced, and told with Traister's signature wit and insight, this book should be shelved alongside Gail Collins' When Everything Changed.

©2016 Rebecca Traister (P)2016 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent book, destroyed by narration

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would highly recommend this book in its written form. Except for the author's introduction, read very well by her, I was unable to tolerate the affected way the narrator read the book. I tried for several hours because the topic was so important to me and the book was so beautiful articulated in its depth and perspective about the state of single women in our culture.

How could the performance have been better?

The narrator probably has a lovely voice, but she choose to read at a clipped, authoritative cadence that was officious and very off putting. I had recommended this book to a close friend and she had the same experience. I have listened to several hundred audible books and this one was the first one I could not finish!

Any additional comments?

I hope you will consider reformatting this book with a different narrator.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

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Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thank you Rebecca Traister for this book! As a 40-something divorced mother of five, I have struggled to find my identity outside of my traditional marriage. This book feels like a roadmap or at least guideposts to how to be a woman at this phase of my life! I am also sharing what I am learning with my two adult daughters. It's empowering to have a modern compendium of excellent women to turn to in 2016!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A must-read for every man

This is the most influential book/piece of journalism I have read on women in my adult life. That might mean I need to "get out more", but to say it has reshaped my views (as a man) on women, marriage, and singlehood would be an understatement. Even the relationships between the female members of my family and I have improved drastically in the last few weeks.

I'm terrible at reviews, I don't care.

MEN, PLEASE READ THIS BOOK.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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First time I've given a book 5 stars in years

If you have chosen not to marry or have kids, this is the book for you! You'll finally see yourself represented! Traister also writes at length about women who have chosen to defer marriage and children until their 30s in order to concentrate on their careers (usually), and women who find themselves unmarried and/or childless by happenstance.

I very much enjoyed the history, the statistics, the stories of the women she interviewed as well as Traister's own experience.

The writing was excellent as was the audio narrator.



4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Diane
  • Little Rock, AR, United States
  • 07-10-16

Great book! Horrible narrator!

This is a great book with some amazing research - lots of quotes and Facebook worthy posting for my younger friends, too. My only issue was with the narrator. I almost quit listening on several occasions. She read with a snarky "sing-song" tone with intentional over emphasis on important quotes that was distracting at best. I don't know if I just grew accustomed to it, or, if she got better in the final chapters, but it did seem less noticeable later.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 03-19-16

Readable and Thoughtful

“All the Single Ladies” aims to trace the history and current landscape of expanding options for single women. Traister opens the book with the story of Anita Hill. Throughout, Traister considers the disparity in choice and realities experienced by white women and women of color. She tells of four black women, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Queen Latifah, Terry McMillan and Shirley Chisholm and four white women, Gloria Steinem, Candace Bushnell, Betty Friedan and Sandra Fluke. Traister also includes Latina and Asians. Traister discusses education, employment, money, marriage and motherhood. Traister goes into the invention of birth control and its effect on women and society. Traister points out that financial solvency is central to independence.

Traister is a journalist; therefore, the book is well written and researched. Traister tells of the new generation of women who are well educated, have professions and careers. I obtained lots of great trivia questions and answers from reading this book. Candace Thaxton did a fair job narrating the book.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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At the top of my all-time favourites list

What made the experience of listening to All the Single Ladies the most enjoyable?

Traister writes charmingly and with a depth of knowledge on the various aspects of what it means to be single in both the U.S. and, to an extent, the larger world. In this one book, Traister cohesively brings together the inputs and outputs that make unmarried life desirable, challenging and (un)intentional, articulating how it all connects and the resulting implications.

If you could give All the Single Ladies a new subtitle, what would it be?

It already belongs to the subtitle it needs.

Any additional comments?

Beyond the remarkable execution, this book speaks to everything that is in me; it voices my hopes, fears, and the realities that inform the life that I've cultivated and have observed in the women that I most respect. Traister (and Candace Thaxton for her audio presentation of the material) has my deepest and hearty thanks.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Illuminating book

The organization of the book is excellent. At times it seemed to wander away from its theme, but just when I began to notice, there was a change in topic or a new chapter.
I've heard the author speak and this lead to my only complaint about the recording (not about the book). The author is a grown woman in her late thirties, maybe early forties and she sounds knowledgeable and mature in that way, like a professor. But the author adopted a much younger persona, like that of a younger woman in her mid- to late twenties. It was incongruous. It didn't do justice to Traister's scholarship.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Finished It, But Rather Disappointed

Would you try another book from Rebecca Traister and/or Candace Thaxton and Rebecca Traister - introduction ?

I'm not sure. As a 31 year old single woman I thought I would relate more to the subject, but the book spends a lot of time on single mothers and even when discussing non-mothers, there were only a few short-lived moments where I thought, "That's me." I felt the book meandered through topics without a clear point. There were times, especially in the historical overview in the beginning, when I felt she relied on quotes from other texts so much and added so little herself that I should have just read those books. At other times, it was almost the complete reverse and she would make a claim with no evidence to support it. There were still other moments when she seemed to completely ignore or gloss over topics, gender census data, violence against women, and masturbation are just a few that come to mind. As an example, I had read Come As You Are by Emily Nogaski shortly before this which details the science of women's sexuality and I found it rather short-sighted of this book to limit single women's sex lives to vaginal intercourse with multiple male partners. Especially, when vaginal intercourse risks disease, pregnancy, and is painful for many women and doesn't lead to orgasm. Overall, I would recommend Come As You Are over this, even though I did feel it focused a bit too much on couples (nobody's perfect), the "wow-I-didn't-know-that-how-did-I-not-know-that" moments were huge.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Missed the boat

Found some great points but mostly felt like this book really misses a lot of the other parts of the story. Many many many single moms are blazing no trails, but are single Bc the deadbeat dads didn't grow up w strong father figures & have been taught by the free love women of today that sex has no consequences and also has no value. Interesting she speaks about Margaret Sanger being so influential in women's rights and how black women are blazing so many trails in single motherhood or non-marriagehood, yet Marge's writings are quite clear she supported abortion and sterilization for lesser peoples. You should really google her eugenics work. It's a whopper of a good time if you're a big Hitler fan. Anyway, will someone please hug the author of this book? I'm a single who isn't super promiscuous and hasn't had an abortion and I grew up with married parents. I work overseas, travel the world, and feel pretty free to do whatever I like. This book feels a touch angry about that sort of lifestyle. Ladies, just be you. Men, just be you. Let's all be us. Book not needed. Xo

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-04-17

fantastic book

this book brings a fresh view on today's society based on history and real life stories. Perfect read for single or married women, man or boys and girls. I hope this book could be added in the list of books students should read during high schools and college :)

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-10-17

Eye opening and life affirming

Perfect blend of history, social policy and human anecdote. The most life affirming book I've read (listened to) in a long time. Puts so much so clearly.

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  • Sharon
  • 04-27-16

Deceptive title to a pointless book

This book purports to be about "unmarried women and the rise of an independent nation". What it actually seems to be about is that it is better to be single than in a bad relationship. Which I agree with, but it's like the author cannot see a relationship where the couple grows together, or does things separately if they don't want to do the same things. It also doesn't seem to be written in any order, lacks structure and relies heavily on anecdata and presenting the author's thoughts as if they are facts.
The book lacks structure, does not cover new ground and is very repetitious.
I found the narrator's voice quite soothing, but she does not clearly delineate chapter headings, which got a bit confusing.

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  • Nicole
  • 03-25-16

best non-fiction book I've read.m

loved this story of female emancipation. it's not the typical feminist read. well researched and not biased