Inside the Castle: Law and the Family in 20th Century America

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Overview

"This wonderful history of twentieth-century family law blows like a strong fresh wind through the fog of myth that pervades debates over traditional families and their decline. Deeply learned but also clear and lively, this book explains how the law of marriage, divorce, parentage, and inheritance has responded to social changes that have eroded old bonds of intimacy and dependence while creating new ones. This is simply the best overview of family law in print."--Robert W. Gordon, Yale Law School

"Grossman and Friedman provide the first complete and reliable survey of American family law in the twentieth century. Along the way, they offer an unusually expansive portrait of how the law has changed and suggestive explorations of many of the recent transformations to American family life. Marriage, divorce, sex, domestic violence, care, and the intergenerational transmission of wealth all fall within their view. Inside the Castle will be the essential starting point for anyone interested in learning about the subject for years to come."--Hendrik Hartog, Princeton University

"This is a bold, ambitious, and remarkably comprehensive book. Moving beyond the legal community and providing a window into the actual functioning of America's diverse families, this book shows that family law isn't so much generated by judges and legislators, but by ordinary and extraordinary individuals."--Steven Mintz, Columbia University

"Effectively organized and wonderfully accessible, this engrossing book illuminates the enormous transformations experienced by families, and the laws governing them, in the twentieth century. I know of no other book that provides such a broad overview and I am deeply impressed by its stellar scholarship."--Naomi Cahn, George Washington University Law School

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
The history of American law is the story of the American family. The book describes how the law both reflects and seeks to mold conceptions of what a family is and who its members are. . . . The conclusion is that the family has undergone dramatic change in America since 1787, and will evolve as new social practices emerge.
Law Library Journal

Inside the Castle is a well-written and thoroughly researched work of legal history that touches on nearly every aspect of American family life. The book is also well organized, with a cogent arrangement of topics. Useful summaries at the end of each chapter list significant points and note questions that remain to be answered. The book's index is thorough, and its comprehensive endnotes should prove valuable for those interested in further research. Inside the Castle is recommended for all public, academic, and law libraries and for anyone with an interest in family law or social history.
— Ellen M. Richardson

American Historical Review - Barbara Bennett Woodhouse
It provides a comprehensive, engaging, accurate, and intriguing account of a century of almost unimaginable change. It will be of interest to a wide variety of readers, from students to people who love a good read about an important topic.
From the Publisher

Co-Winner of the 2011 David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Legal History, The Langum Charitable Trust

"The history of American law is the story of the American family. The book describes how the law both reflects and seeks to mold conceptions of what a family is and who its members are. . . . The conclusion is that the family has undergone dramatic change in America since 1787, and will evolve as new social practices emerge."--Choice

"Inside the Castle is a well-written and thoroughly researched work of legal history that touches on nearly every aspect of American family life. The book is also well organized, with a cogent arrangement of topics. Useful summaries at the end of each chapter list significant points and note questions that remain to be answered. The book's index is thorough, and its comprehensive endnotes should prove valuable for those interested in further research. Inside the Castle is recommended for all public, academic, and law libraries and for anyone with an interest in family law or social history."--Ellen M. Richardson, Law Library Journal

"It provides a comprehensive, engaging, accurate, and intriguing account of a century of almost unimaginable change. It will be of interest to a wide variety of readers, from students to people who love a good read about an important topic."--Barbara Bennett Woodhouse, American Historical Review

"Inside the Castle is an expansive and careful study of the intricate relationship between family law and society, and the influence of the latter on the former. It is impressive in both its scope and depth."--Zvi H. Triger, Law and Politics Book Review

Law Library Journal
Inside the Castle is a well-written and thoroughly researched work of legal history that touches on nearly every aspect of American family life. The book is also well organized, with a cogent arrangement of topics. Useful summaries at the end of each chapter list significant points and note questions that remain to be answered. The book's index is thorough, and its comprehensive endnotes should prove valuable for those interested in further research. Inside the Castle is recommended for all public, academic, and law libraries and for anyone with an interest in family law or social history.
— Ellen M. Richardson
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691149820
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 8/4/2011
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Joanna L. Grossman is professor of law at Hofstra University and the coeditor of "Gender Equality". Lawrence M. Friedman is the Marion Rice Kirkwood Professor of Law at Stanford University. His books include "A History of American Law".
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1

Part One: Tying the Knot: Marriage and Promises to Marry
Chapter One: Marriage and the State 27
Chapter Two: Marriage, Law, and Society: A Tangled Web 51
Chapter Three: Common-Law Marriage 78
Chapter Four: The End of Heart Balm 90

Part Two: Anything Goes: love and romance in a Permissive Age
Chapter Five: The Rise of Sexual Freedom 109
Chapter Six: Cohabitation 121
Chapter Seven: Same-Sex Relationships 142

Part Three: When the Music Stops: Dissolving a Marriage and the Aftermath
Chapter Eight: Untying the Knot: Divorce and Annulment 159
Chapter Nine: Dollars and Sense: The Economic Consequences of Divorce 192
Chapter Ten: Collateral Damage: The Children of Divorce 215

Part Four: The Old and the New Generation
Chapter Eleven: The Extended Family: Elder Law and the Law of Inheritance 235
Chapter Twelve: Parents and Children: Rights and Duties 262
Chapter Thirteen: Whom Do We Belong To? Parentage and the Law 286
Chapter Fourteen: Chosen People: Adoption and the Law 305

Conclusion: Into the Void 330
Notes 333
Index 423

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