Sunday 19 August 2018 at 14:59

Marriage: A History - by Stephanie Coontz

By Eric Antoine Scuccimarra

I had already read and enjoyed "The Way We Never Were" so when I saw another book by Ms Coontz I was excited to read it, and I was not disappointed. Like "Debt: The First 5,000 Years", this book takes on a subject which most people think they are knowledgeable about and with extensive research proceeds to dismantle what you thought you knew. 

The book goes through the history of marriage throughout the ages and in different cultures and examines how the institution has evolved and changed. Spoiler alert - what Americans tend to think of as "traditional marriage" really only existed in the 1950s and 1960s, and even then wasn't as "Leave it to Beaver" as people tend to think. The subject of nostalgia for the "good old days" that never really existed was very thoroughly covered in "The Way We Never Were" and, while some overlapping material is covered in this book, this one really focuses on the history of marriage, from ancient Greece through to modern times. 

While marriage has existed since the beginning of recorded history, it has constantly been in flux and has been regarded very differently in different cultures. While the changes since the 1950s are most memorable to me, writing here in 2018, all of the book was very interesting and I had to stop reading to tell my wife something interesting I had just read at least once per chapter. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in history or sociology.

Labels: books, history


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