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Publisher's Summary

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 listeners 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 19th 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.

©2005 SJ Coontz Company (P)2016 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Nuke-you-ler

First, the narration was very dry. This is a much more interesting book than the narration suggests.

Also, the narrator pronounces nuclear "nuke-you-ler" about a thousand times. Nuclear families are obviously going to come up a lot in a book like this, and every time it did it made me physically cringe.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ky
  • 11-16-18

Educational heading into wedding season

The story was good. A bit long in places and a little repetitive. I thought the history would include where modern traditions (something blue, something borrowed) would include more of. But overall a good listen.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Robotic performance, interesting info

I nearly deleted this audiobook over the poor performance. It makes the author seem clinical and unfeeling. I saw a video interview with the author, however, and realizing she is in fact human and has passion for her work, so I decided to see what else she had to say within this book.

That said, the narrator is horribly robotic. I’m sure she could be worse, so I won’t give one star. But I find myself sometimes struggling to pay attention. Also, she pronounces the word nuclear “nuke-u-ler.” Embarrassing. I am shocked no one bothered to correct this.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Coontz is so good!

Coontz is great! I felt like the narration was a little drier than I would have liked but I got over it quickly because I was captivated by the writing.

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interesting overview

I read this before my wedding. It offered a very interesting overview of marriage and how it's changed over the years.

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very informative

Wonderful book. The most important thing I learned from this is that the idea of traditional marriage is a myth. There is no one format for marriage. Like language, it is always changing and it always will, so we might focus on where the changes are going rather than clinging to a short-lived 50s style marriage. For example, the idea of marriage for love is so new to human history. I realized how little we know about such a common social institution.

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A great review on actual history

I enjoyed the book. It is an actual history book. There's not much of any political narrative; only the display of facts. You get taken through a lot of very early history of marriage (in early Biblical times), through the Middle Ages, Enlightenment, and then in recent times.

If you want a good understanding on how marriage has changed throughout history (not necessarily a whole lot of 'why'), then this is your book.

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A must-read, even if a bit slow.

About halfway through I was a little bored with a lot of redundancies, and had to put it down for a while. later on I became a little overwhelmed with what seem to be several chapters of satistics. However the rest of the book is incredible, and is worth waiting through the slow parts to read or listen to. in the end I would recommend this to everybody.

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A Hard Working Author with Heart

This book contains many interesting revelations, but also shows an author who works very hard to pull the appropriate, relevant and truthful facts together. After reading this, I can't think of another topic that is so close to what we deal with every day of our lives. This is about family and relationships. The iPhones and Google pale in comparison to the importance of this. If today, the same novel was written, what would the author say about our technologies? One thing is that Stephanie Coontz would treat it with an open mind and as another opportunity to explore. She doesn't start with broad assumptions or twiddle emotions. It is refreshing to see such fact based analysis given with such vigor and in such an interesting way.

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  • GH
  • Sherborn, MA, United States
  • 04-25-17

Listen and you will be stunned

If you thought you knew something of the history of marriage, you are most probably mistaken -- a lot. This start with prehistoric times, goes through Greek, Roman, Egyptian, middle ages, Renaissance, 1800, 1920s, the golden age of marriage, 1970-1990, today, and most probably tomorrow. If you think that is a tall order, it so is. Ms. Stephanie Coontz does an excellent job laying it all out. You will find yourself shaking your head often. You will realize how far we come and how seriously marriage has been used as tool. Sometimes you will be angry, sad, dismayed. Though when you finish, you will understand the institution better. I am better off for listening to this. Thank-you Ms. Coontz.