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Divorce: An Oral History

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Divorce is not a sociological or psychological study of the causes of divorce, but a compelling account of those directly involved. Feifer interviewed a whole range of people whose lives have been altered by divorce - dozens of former husbands and wives as well as divorce lawyers and therapists, children of divorce, and divorce court judges. Their collected stories, in their own words and colored by their own memories, offer a startling and unprecedented view of divorce from those on the inside: a man who finds ...
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Overview

Divorce is not a sociological or psychological study of the causes of divorce, but a compelling account of those directly involved. Feifer interviewed a whole range of people whose lives have been altered by divorce - dozens of former husbands and wives as well as divorce lawyers and therapists, children of divorce, and divorce court judges. Their collected stories, in their own words and colored by their own memories, offer a startling and unprecedented view of divorce from those on the inside: a man who finds himself separated from his kids by a technicality in his settlement, a woman who overcomes a deadbeat husband and months of poverty to raise six kids and become a CEO, a man unhappy in his marriage who finds his soulmate shortly after his twenty-fifth anniversary, and a couple who describe their divorce from two very different perspectives. Divorce is absolutely compelling reading for anyone even peripherally touched by a phenomenon that has changed the very meaning of family and marriage.

To prepare this book, Feifer interviewed over 30 people--from bank presidents to waitresses, from record producers to abused spouses--all of whom have lived through divorce. As much about marriage as it is about the failure of marriages, Divorce concerns people's expectations of life with a partner and how, in roughly half of all marriages, those expectations are dashed.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This collection of 37 interviews with divorced men and women, lawyers, mediators, judges and counselors emphasizes the wrenching emotions inherent in divorce, but these anecdotes provide no real enlightenment about the causes of marital breakups. Feifer, a writer (Tennozan: The Battle of Okinawa and the Atomic Bomb) who went through his own divorce, makes no claims of expertise or comprehensiveness, but states that recounting his personal experience eased the pain. Pain relief seems also to have been the motivation of his interviewees, who, with few exceptions, are confined to middle-and upper-middle-class whites. The intervention of counselors and mediators made for better relationships between divorced parents and their children; but it is obvious from the comments of the lawyers and their disillusioned clients that the confrontational and occasionally vengeful tactics of the attorneys did more harm than good. (Aug.)
Denise Perry Donavin
"American divorce, its edges sharpened by our litigious nature, gender battles, and especially our adversarial legal system, has particular effects," writes Feifer, who examines these effects via interviews with 37 divorced people, judges, lawyers, marriage counselors, and children of divorced parents. Feifer is not seeking to fan the flames of any marital fires; therefore, he has not asked both partners in a marriage to comment. He is merely trying to point out the depth and variety of ways the system of divorce creates long-lasting anguish and conflict. The interviews, written in the first person, are in random order, and each is preceded by a brief introduction. Some healing may be provided here, but mostly the book is a summation of how awful divorce is and a reminder that "divorce is not an event, it's a process--for your children a lifelong process."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565842724
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 8/28/1995
  • Pages: 356
  • Product dimensions: 6.41 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Betsy Loomis 12
Billy Palmer 24
George Kirkland 37
Sylvia Buchter 44
Marilyn Charwat 51
Arthur Popilowski 66
Pat Poruznik 77
James Felton 88
Jocelyn Littwack 98
Joanne Webber 107
Alicia Esperito 115
Gary Sandefur 120
Sheila Basset 125
Richard Whaley 139
David Bower 148
Daniel Pascale 156
Paula Holmes 165
Jeanne Morley 170
Harry Strauss 174
Sandra Marcus 185
Robert Mnookin 195
Mary Geoghegan 202
Hank Sanderson 206
Michael Rybakov 211
John Herald 220
Margot Sanders 229
Bradley Offit 237
James Hensley 245
Peter Nuland 256
Pat Morgan 261
Honor Andersen 264
John M. Gottman 270
Peter Burke 281
Calvin Sheehan 284
Jeffrey Cohen 290
Kathy Summers 301
Nita Finn 303
Joseph Steinberg 309
Hendon Chubb 316
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