Families Without Fathers

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Overview

The American family is changing. Divorce, single parents, and stepfamilies are redefi ning the ways we live together and raise our children. Many "experts" feel these seemingly inevitable changes should be celebrated; they claim that the "new" families, which often lack a strong father, are actually healthier than traditional two-parent families—or, at the very least, do children no harm. But as David Popenoe shows in Families Without Fathers this optimistic view is severely misguided.

Examining evidence from social and behavioral science, history, and evolutionary biology, Popenoe shows why fathers today are deserting their families in record numbers. The disintegration of the child-centered, two parent family—especially in the inner cities, where as many as two in three children are growing up without their fathers—and the weakening commitment of fathers to their children that more and more follows divorce, are central causes of many of our worst individual and social problems. Juvenile delinquency, drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, welfare dependency, and child poverty can be directly traced to fathers' lack of involvement in their children's lives.

Our situation will only get worse, Popenoe warns, unless men are willing to renew their commitment to their marriages and to their children. Yet he is not just an alarmist. He suggests concrete policies, and new ways of thinking and acting that will help all fathers improve their marriages and family lives, and tells us what we as individuals and as a society can do to support and strengthen the most important thing a man can do.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“[A] genuinely ground-breaking work about the consequences for African families of absent fathers.”

—Adrian Thatcher, INTAMS

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412810388
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 292
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

David Popenoe is professor of sociology emeritus and was co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. He is the author or editor of numerous books and articles and as co-chair of the Council on Families in America, he was the primary author of its pioneering 1995 report Marriage in America: A Report to the Nation. Some of his other works include Promises to Keep: Decline and Renewal of Marriage in America and War Over the Family.

David Popenoe is professor of sociology emeritus and was co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. He is the author or editor of numerous books and articles and as co-chair of the Council on Families in America, he was the primary author of its pioneering 1995 report Marriage in America: A Report to the Nation. Some of his other works include Promises to Keep: Decline and Renewal of Marriage in America and War Over the Family.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the Transaction Edition vii

Preface xi

Introduction 1

Part 1 Fatherlessness

1 The Remarkable Decline of Fatherhood and Marriage 19

2 The Human Carnage of Fatherlessness 52

Part 2 Fathers in History

3 Victorian Fathers and the Rise of the Modern Nuclear Family 81

4 The Shrinking Father and the Fall of the Nuclear Family 109

Part 3 Why Fathers Matter

5 What Do Fathers Do? 139

6 The Essential Father 164

Part 4 Conclusions

7 Reclaiming Fatherhood and Marriage 191

Notes 229

Index 265

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