The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap “Leave It to Beaver” was not a documentary, Stephanie Coontz points out; neither the. By Stephanie Coontz In , I published The Way We Never Were: American Families And The Nostalgia Trap, a search for the supposed. The Way We Never Were has ratings and reviews. Wealhtheow said: Coontz presents the historical facts of American family life and political and.

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Domestic violence and incest, she points out, have in fact always occurred more commonly in families with rigid, patriarchal gender roles like those emblazoned on TV in the ‘s. During WWII, Americans had saved at a rate more than three times higher than in the decades before or since. Organized around a series of myths and half-truths that burden modern families, the book sheds new light on such contemporary concerns as parenting, privacy, love, the division of labor along gender lines, the black family, feminism, and sexual practice.

While I enjoyed most of the book very much, the last few chapters, 9, 10, and 11, contained less historical perspective, being more focused on the political and social causes of current issues and less on how these particular issues have been handled at earlier times in our history.

Again, I’m all for criticizing both the liberal and conservative positions, but the way she goes about it here is a bit sloppy.

Meeting this Sunday 3 3 Oct 13, Mar 29, Lyn rated it liked it Shelves: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap. My mother is a professor of American history, and many of my earliest memories pertaining to te professional life involve her unabashed enthusiasm for this book. While this book was fascinating to me for intellectual reasons, it also achieved a deeper level of personal resonance.

Did she seriously just use a personal anecdote to prove her point? View all 5 comments.

This revised edition includes a new introduction and epilogue, looking at what has and has not changed since the original publication inand 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.


Basic BooksMar 29, – History – pages. Of course, myth is rooted in fact, and certain phenomena of the s generated the Ozzie and Harriet icon. While I’m never a fan of blame-the-victim thinking, I wasn’t always sure where Coontz’s factual information ended and her agenda began.

And I was raised in what most people would find a freakishly conservative family. This, in particular, is about our collective past.

Much of the book is written in a manner akin to that of a textbook but there coomtz somewhat random passages in which Coontz begins speaking in the first person. Placing the American family in its historical, cultural, economic, and philosophic context, Coontz co-ed. Placing current family dilemmas in the context of wede economic, political, and demographic changes, The Way We Never Were shows that people have not suddenly and inexplicably “gone bad” and points to ways that we can help families do better.

In the penultimate chapter, for example, a crisp reframing of the myth of black-family collapse leads to a reinterpretation of the “family crisis” in general, putting it in the larger context of social, wrre, and political ills.

Every political cycle we see an increase of claims that the American family is in decline and many of our woes are due to this decline. And there was Coontz, the Evergreen State College professor of history and family studies, using history to demonstrate that Quayle’s vision was a seductive myth.

Customers who bought this item also bought. Teenage childbearing peaked in the fabulous family-oriented s If you want to know “how it used to be”, I really think one should read this. American Families in qere Cold War Era. The difference between that generation and mine is that their non-idealistic family moments remain family secrets. Open Preview See a Problem?

The Way We Never Were: American Families And The Nostalgia Trap – Stephanie Coontz – Google Books

Basic Books- History – pages. She argues that historical mythologizing about family life distracts us from constructively examining how best to serve families and communities.

It’s more of a research book An important book debunking the myth of the “traditional” family, conotz the political claims often made about the deterioration of the family as the core of various social ills.

The Way We Never Were examines two centuries of American family life and shatters a series of myths and half-truths that burden modern families. To her credit, Coontz’s personal agenda doesn’t appear to extend beyond the general goal of improving life for all Americans; she successfully ew sectarianism, and instead focuses on laying bare our true enemy: It’s more of a research book than wwe “popular nonfiction” book, writing to inform and not to entertain, so it may come off as dry and occasionally heavy on academic jargon.


Aug 07, Michael rated it really liked it. The decade proved profamily–the birthrate rose dramatically; social problems that nag–gangs, drugs, violence–weren’t even on the horizon.

Although this book is not entirely up to date, since its focus is on the historical development of the family or families in the U.

May 18, Eay rated it it was amazing.

The Way We Never Were: American Families & the Nostalgia Trap by Stephanie Coontz

Feb 18, Melanie rated it really liked it. From “a man’s home was his castle” to “traditional families never asked for a handout,” this provocative book explodes cherished illusions about the past.

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The Way We Never Were: American Families & the Nostalgia Trap

I’d This totally changed the way I think about the history of the past century. Individualism Gender Myths and the Problem of Love. Originally published inthe edition I read has a Introduction and Epilogue, which, nfver 25 years, are an important addition. Write a customer review. Now that I’ve finally waay the time to read it, I understand why it made such a strong impression. Coontz points out that there was actually more teen pregnancy in the wete.

She also fails to address the central role television has had in this national debate, albeit at the crux of her argument is the fictional American family conservatives love to cite as their model. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. This reads more like a text book but the information is excellent.