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The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

It’s one thing to be nostalgic about our own days gone by. It’s something else to believe in days gone by as seen on TV or at the movies, and that is what the author calls “the nostalgia trap.” If letting go of what we soaked up from the screens feels sad, take heart: The author argues that life is lots better lately, and she shares the facts to prove it.



"Often brilliant and invariably provocative." --New York Times Book Review
Leave It to Beaver was not a documentary, a man's home has never been his castle, the 'male breadwinner marriage' is the least traditional family in history, and rape and sexual assault were far higher in the 1970s than they are today.
In The Way We Never Were, acclaimed historian Stephanie Coontz provides a myth-shattering examination of two centuries of the American family, sweeping away misconceptions about the past that cloud current debates about domestic life. The 1950s do not present a workable model of how to conduct our personal lives today, Coontz argues, and neither does any other era from our cultural past.
This revised edition includes a new introduction and epilogue, looking at what has and has not changed since the original publication in 1992, and exploring how the clash between growing gender equality and growing economic inequality is reshaping family life, marriage, and male-female relationships in our modern era.
Now more relevant than ever, The Way We Never Were continues to be a potent corrective to dangerous nostalgia for an American tradition that never really existed.

About the Author

Stephanie Coontz is a member of the faculty of Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where she is a historian and an expert on American culture.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780465098835
ISBN-10: 0465098835
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication Date: March 29th, 2016
Pages: 576
Language: English