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The New Wife: The Evolving Role of the American Wife

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More About This Book

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The author of nine books, including A Passion for More, Barash (gender studies, Marymount Manhattan Coll.) here focuses on the role of the American wife. The book was constructed from personal interviews with women who married in each of the six decades studied (1950 to present), as well as synopses of material reflecting cultural and societal attitudes about marriage, such as novels, news stories, films, and various artistic and political statements. The end result is a small and immensely readable volume that highlights the experiences of a group of women from varying socioeconomic, religious, ethnic, and educational backgrounds, utilizing their stories to support contentions about the changing role of the wife in each era examined. Sex, abuse, finances, affairs, divorce, and childrearing are all discussed in light of the expectations these women harbored, accompanied by the backdrop of the expectations of others. Barash's conclusions are backed by statistics in addition to the interviews and cultural research. The book comes to life with the voices of many candid women and ends all too soon. Recommended for large public and academic libraries.-Lori Carabello, Ephrata P.L., PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781932053081
  • Publisher: Nonetheless Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.74 (h) x 1.10 (d)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2004

    I highly recommend this book...it's informative and a pleasure to read!

    I believe that Susan Shapiro Barash is absolutely correct when she describes how it has been in America for the past five decades for wives. Although the role keeps changing, there are many aspects to it that also remain the same. I think it is interesting that she sees a parallel with the young wives of today and the fifties wives, in the sense that these women do not feel pressured to work. The difference is that the young wife today is educated and can have many career opportunities. Yet she likes the idea of having choices (to stay home or to go to work) and of a husband as provider. This kind of honesty, and this new swing backwards, sort of, with a twist, has not been discussed before. I also appreciate the way that the wives thought per decade, since each chapter is a different decade, beginning with the sixties. Barash refers to films of the times, famous women, such as Jackie Kennedy for a sixties wife, Princess Di as an eighties wife, as examples. The real life stories of women work well for me, and gives a sense that the goal of being a wife won't end in the twenty-first century. One also feels less alone when reading this book, as if the complicated role of being a wife is universal. I highly recommend this, it is informative and a pleasure to read.

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