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  • The Way We Never Were

  • American Families and the Nostalgia Trap
  • By: Stephanie Coontz
  • Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
  • Length: 17 hrs and 49 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (69 ratings)

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The Way We Never Were

By: Stephanie Coontz
Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
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Publisher's summary

The definitive edition of the classic, myth-shattering history of the American family

Leave It to Beaver was not a documentary, a man's home has never been his castle, the "male breadwinner marriage" is the least traditional family in history, and rape and sexual assault were far higher in the 1970s than they are today. In The Way We Never Were, acclaimed historian Stephanie Coontz examines two centuries of the American family, sweeping away misconceptions about the past that cloud current debates about domestic life. The 1950s do not present a workable model of how to conduct our personal lives today, Coontz argues, and neither does any other era from our cultural past. This revised edition includes a new introduction and epilogue, exploring how the clash between growing gender equality and rising economic inequality is reshaping family life, marriage, and male-female relationships in our modern era.

More relevant than ever, The Way We Never Were is a potent corrective to dangerous nostalgia for an American tradition that never really existed.

©1992, 2016 Stephanie Coontz (P)2019 Hachette Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic reviews

"[Coontz] approaches the subject of what we now insist up on calling 'family values' with what is, in the current atmosphere, a refreshing lack of partisan cant."—Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World

"Historically rich, and loaded with anecdotal evidence, The Way We Never Were effectively demolishes the normal, traditional nuclear family as neither normal nor traditional, and not even nuclear."—Nation

"Coontz's strength is in the way she shows that families of every era have been blamed for conditions beyond their control."—San Francisco Chronicle