"This ambitious and hopeful book radiates faith that ordinary people can build strong lives and good communities." -Dr. Mary Pipher, author of TheMiddle of Everywhere and Reviving Ophelia
"An extraordinary achievement. The Gores' experience and vision, plus their comprehensive research, make Joined at the Heart a must for families." -Isabel Allende, author of Daughter of Fortune
"This engaging book is serious in intent and playful in execution." -Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone
"In this wise and clear-eyed book, Al and Tipper Gore see all families-single parent, blended, gay and lesbian, dual-earner, and breadwinner-homemaker-as works in progress."-Arlie Russell Hochschild, author of The Time Bind
"A warm and wise exploration of the new terrain of family life . . . Al and Tipper Gore's love of family is infectious, and their book makes us believe that we can all be joined at the heart." -Dr. Pepper Schwartz, author of Love Between Equals
"Inspiring, heartwarming, compelling . . . A remarkable blend of personal memoir, ethnography, and research findings." -Juliet Schor, Professor of Sociology, Boston College, and author of The Overworked American
Former vice president Al Gore and his wife, family advocate Tipper Gore, present a look at the current state of the American family unit, via fascinating profiles of 12 families they have met through the years. In addition, the Gores share reflections on their own family and how it has changed and adapted over the years.
This ambitious and hopeful book radiates faith that ordinary people can build strong lives and good communities.
An extraordinary achievement. The Gores' experience and vision, plus their comprehensive research, make Joined at the Heart a must . . .
This engaging book is serious in intent and playful in execution.
Warmly appreciative of the diversity of ways we are joined at the heart . . .
This book . . . addresses the concerns that truly matter to healthy family life, and is honest about our culture's strengths . . .
This is a warm and wise exploration of the new terrain of family life . . .
Here is America's heart and soul embodied in the connected lives of its families stories of our citizens told sensitively . . .
A remarkable blend of personal memoir, ethnography, and research findings . . . inspiring, heartwarming, and compelling . . .
Written by the former vice president and his wife, this book concerns itself with the challenges that beset the modern American family. Drawing on an array of (often familiar) studies, punctuating the text with the real-life tales of ordinary people making contemporary lifestyle choices, and spicing the whole with charming insights into their own family dynamics, the Gores examine what it means to love, work and play in today's world. Perpetually opting for the anecdotal over the theoretical, the book feels like a long article in a popular magazine, a pleasant recitation of things one has heard before. Readers are told, for example, that "people who feel that their lives are somehow empty of meaning become vulnerable to all kinds of addictions." Likewise, "We feel strongly that everyone should think seriously about the role of television in their family and set limits for their kids." While there's nothing groundbreaking in the book, this is nonetheless a homey, accessible volume whose authors' commitment to their family and to the lives of others feels genuine and absolute.
"For us, as for most Americans," write the former vice-president and his wife, "family is our bedrock, and we believe the strength of the American family is the nation's bedrock." But the American family has changed substantially in the last half century and so have the cultural and economic conditions under which it exists. The families the Gores have encountered in a decade of research reflect these changes: one couple has children from the husband's three different relationships, a gay white couple adopts two black children, a single mother struggles with poverty. The couple add stories from their own marriage and consult with historians, sociologists, psychologists and educators, giving the American family the same comprehensive treatment Al's Earth in the Balance gave the environment. Al and Tipper examine subjects as diverse as the increased divorce rate, the parent-teen gap, dual-income households and the health problems associated with sleep deprivation. They divide the book into themes, including love, communication, work, play and community, and show how these factors influence one another, taking a holistic approach to the underlying problems affecting today's families. Yet although they declare America should "provide every possible support to those most important to us," they make very few firm recommendations on government policy; those reading with an eye toward identifying planks in another Gore presidential campaign will have their work cut out for them. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Coauthoring this very readable work, the Gores affirm their respect and support for culturally and structurally variant American families, loving individuals committed to each other's welfare. Based on personal experiences and interviews with others in traditional and nontraditional relationships, the authors offer a sampling of caring individuals struggling to balance family, work, play, and community to support one another, adults and children, together with the future of this country. The Gores relate these families' experiences to the environments in which they live, offering a critique of the social programs needed to support successful family life: affordable shelter, reliable and competent child care, pre- and post-school time supervised activities, employee family-leave provisions, well-run community facilities, and services for all age levels. They argue that it is increasingly critical to maintain and grow our country's various sources of "social capital," to understand and support families, the too often unacknowledged vital units of our American society. This convincing, multiresourced work is recommended for public and academic library purchase. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/02; also released this November is The Spirit of the Family, a photography book edited by the Gores.-Ed.]-Suzanne W. Wood, formerly with SUNY Coll. of Technology at Alfred Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
The former veep and his wife examine the American family and its metamorphosis since 1960. In the last two generations, the Gores write, the classic American nuclear family has undergone a number of changes. Families are forming later, they’re more diverse, the divorce rate has doubled, and a higher percentage of mothers are working outside the home. The Gores profile a different family at the opening of each chapter and cite complementary examples from existing scholarship. The study works best when they let the families reflect on their experiences. While creating a garden in an abandoned North Philadelphia lot, Lily Yeh gained a nontraditional "family" made up of artists and community activists, a mosaic of "the people that nobody wants, the disenfranchised," she remarks. Other profiles include John Coon and Josh Tuerk, who have adopted two baby boys and define family as "Love. Sharing. Responsibility. Contentment." In the section on "Play" (all the chapter titles are similarly broad), the Gores draw on their own history. During the 1992 presidential campaign, Al appeared on Larry King Live. Watching from her hotel room while campaigning in another city, Tipper called the show, disguising her voice, and told Al he "was really cute and would he go out on a date with her?" After Al’s jaw dropped and Larry began to stammer, Tipper told them who she was. This pleasant anecdote about the importance of play is swiftly overwhelmed with quotes from Plato, opinions from clinical psychologists, and advice from dozens of academics. The format quickly becomes wearying. We are offered a "history of family" that begins with the evolution of the species on the African savannah and ends approximately20 pages later with American settlers. Perhaps The Spirit of Family, a collection of photographs they selected and that is being published simultaneously, has more personality. Doesn’t add anything to the existing literature and feels like promotional material for the Gores’ annual Family Re-Union conference.