War Over the Family

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One of the most surprising and controversial social debates of the past two decades has been about the meaning and importance of marriage and the family in contemporary American life. Referred to by some as a culture "war over the family," the debate has pitted those concerned about the weakening of the traditional married-parent nuclear family, especially in its impact on children, against those arguing that nothing has gone wrong with families—that they are merely "diversifying." David Popenoe has been one of the most influential figures in laying out for a wide audience the importance of "family decline," and what it means for our children, our society, and our future.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"No one in the country has done more than David Popenoe to put the issues of marriage and responsible fatherhood on the public agenda. This book gathers together his most important essays. They show us not only what he thinks, but also how he thinks, which is even more important. This book is a remarkable intellectual achievement." —David Blankenhorn, president, Institute for American Values "This volume demonstrates why David Popenoe is one of the nation's most thoughtful and influential scholars in the debate over the future of the family. Drawing upon a wealth of social science evidence, he argues his case for family decline in a voice that is reasoned, judicious, and eminently wise. An indispensable work for anyone who wants to understand what is happening to the American family and why." —Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, author, The Divorce Culture and co-director, National Marriage Project, Rutgers "David Popenoe is America's most articulate voice warning about the costs to children of the declining strength of families. War Over the Family tells the story of his intellectual struggles to alert us to both the problem and possible solutions. This is a great book about great ideas and Popenoe's outstanding leadership on arguably the most important issue of our time." —Don Browning, University of Chicago, and author of Marriage and Modernization
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412808101
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/31/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (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.

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Table of Contents

1 Family decline in America 3
2 American family decline, 1960-1990 : a review and appraisal 17
3 The family condition of America : cultural change and public policy 45
4 Family values : a communitarian position 71
5 The evolution of marriage and the problem of stepfamilies : a biosocial perspective 91
6 A world without fathers 117
7 Fostering the new familism : a goal for America 135
8 The roots of declining social virtue : family, community, and the need for a "natural communities policy" 143
9 Modern marriage : revising the cultural script 169
10 Challenging the culture of fatherlessness 191
11 The marriage movement 199
12 Can the nuclear family be revived? 207
13 A marriage research agenda for the twenty-first century : ten critical questions 213
14 Remembering my father : an intellectual portrait of "the man who saved marriages" 227
15 The war over the family : America's debate over the decline of the two-parent family 245
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