Embattled Paradise; The American Family in an Age of Uncertainty

Overview

Was there really a golden age of the family in the 1950s -- or ever? This important book probes and challenges our assumptions about the past, present, and future of the family.

"As Arlene Skolnick shows in her lucid synthesis of wide-ranging research that is at the core of Embattled Paradise, any sensible account of the family must be about much more than the family. For several decades, Skolnick has worked long and hard to create what amounts virtually to a canon for the sociology of families". -- Contemporary ...

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Overview

Was there really a golden age of the family in the 1950s -- or ever? This important book probes and challenges our assumptions about the past, present, and future of the family.

"As Arlene Skolnick shows in her lucid synthesis of wide-ranging research that is at the core of Embattled Paradise, any sensible account of the family must be about much more than the family. For several decades, Skolnick has worked long and hard to create what amounts virtually to a canon for the sociology of families". -- Contemporary Sociology

"An enlightening and essentially optimistic look at American families and the seismic cultural shocks that have wrought profound changes in them during the past century.... Down with nostalgia, up with reality....It won't be, and never was, anything like 'Ozzie and Harriet.'" -- Kirkus Reviews

"Skolnick's book is a useful antidote to the bleak rhetoric of loss and decline....Skolnick is able to put the current state of the family in its proper -- that is, historical -- perspective. Her book should help nudge the public debate away from debilitating crisis-mongering". -- The Nation

"Intelligent provocative....Her meticulously documented and accessible examination sheds more light on the American family than any other book in recent memory". -- San Francisco Chronicle

"Embattled Paradise is a stunning achievement, the most important and illuminating book about the family in years". -- Lillian Rubin, author of Worlds of Pain

"In this clear-sighted and wise book, Arlene Skolnick sets current tensions in American family life in rich social and historical perspective. Those who think about family life in the 1990s -- whether as participants in their own familiesor as makers of public policy affecting families -- will find Skolnick indispensable". -- Linda K. Kerber, author of Women of the Republic

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Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle
Sheds more light on the American family than any other book in recent memory.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Decrying recent ``nostalgia for the lost family,'' especially as idealized in such 1950s TV shows as Ozzie and Harriet , research psychologist Skolnick The Intimate Environment suggests in this debatable but determinedly positive history that the traditional structure, though not necessarily the value system, of the American family has been radically transformed. Examining American family life from its colonial and frontier patterns to the present, she contends that changes wrought by post-1960s sexual and cultural revolutions as observed, e.g., in feminism, gay pride, increased cohabitation and single parenting are adaptations to demographic trends and a stagnant economy. The need for women to be wage earners is less threatening to family values, she insists, than is our society's overemphasis of individualism and self-fulfillment. Nov.
Library Journal
Families in contemporary America are indeed embattled. Far from being the often wistfully Victorian models or 1950s TV images, the family units of the 1990s reflect the wrenching social and economic changes of the past five decades--feminist and alternative lifestyle movements, narcissism, an expanding underclass, a growing elderly population, single parenting, working mothers, high divorce rates, serious homelessness, drug abuse, and crime. Skolnick, a research psychologist at the Institute of Human Development (Univ. of California-Berkeley), is thoughtful and persuasive as she argues for ``both political will and social creativity'' in dealing constructively with the special problems ``besetting'' family life today. Embattled Paradise is highly recommended for policymakers, academics, and the general public.-- Suzanne W. Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology, Alfred
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465019243
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 1/21/1993
  • Edition description: REISSUE
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 284
  • Lexile: 1450L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.23 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Arlene Skolnick is a professor of human development at the University of California, Berkely, and author of The Intimate Environment.

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