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Based on lectures given by Fox-Genovese (Within the Plantation Household), the Emory University historian who died in 2007, Marriage has the strong sense of a passionate and personal speech. Fox-Genovese was firmly pro-marriage, and here she is unabashedly frank in her advocacy. Her broad, measured tone attempts to encompass a wide sweep of human experience and cultures and is just as concerned with modern marriage as its historical context. Fox-Genovese examines marriage as a societal question rather than simply a question of individual preference and comments on divorce, same-sex unions, the sexual revolution, and other issues affecting modern marriage. Her concern is especially for the current state of marriage in American society and the tension between individual rights and responsibilities in such an institution.
Squire (The Slender Balance) begins with Genesis and works through biblical and secular history through Martin Luther, deconstructing marriage with a vengeance. Like Fox-Genovese, Squire does not pretend to be unbiased in her negative view of historical marriage, especially in terms of Christian history. The subtitle describes the book as "contrarian," but that is almost too mild a term to describe Squire's sarcastic yet breezy style, which while very amusing, is sure to offend many readers as she gleefully surveys Western history. Squire is mainly concerned with the subjugation of women within the strictures of marriage as a social and religious convention. Both works are passionate intellectual manifestos, with completely different tones and aims, and both are recommended for sociology and women's history collections.