Marriage, a History

How love conquered marriage

author of The Way We Never Were

Stephanie Coontz

432 Pages, ISBN 978 0 14 303667 8     
Published by the Penguin Group, 2005     

At a moment when people are clamoring to protect "traditional" marriage, this explosive book by a respected historian and marriage expert bluntly asks, "What tradition?". Stephanie Coontz argues that the cherished nuclear family is a relatively new experiment. In this groundbreaking book she takes us on a journey from the marital intrigues of ancient Babylon to the torments of Victorian lovers to the debates over gay marriage today. She demonstrates that for five thousand years the idea of marrying for love would have been considered absurd and that when romance and intimacy entered the sphere of marriage in the nineteenth century, marriage became more fragile, if often more satisfying. Enlightening and hugely entertaining, Marriage, a History is the one book you need to understand the debates that continue to rage around this peculiar institution.

"Myth-shattering. Endlessly fascinating."
- O, The Oprah Magazine

"Coontz has captured our times like a bug in amber."
- Helen Fisher, author of Why We Love

"Provocative, erudite and entertaining. What makes this book so important is its honesty and courage. Raises the debates about marriage in America to a higher level."
- Chicago Tribune

"Engrossing. Coontz is at the top of her writing game here. Distills an enormous amount of information into descriptions both portable and intriguing."
- The Seattle Times

(The text above comes from the back of the book)     

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