Embattled Paradise: The American Family in an Age of Uncertainty

Arlene S. Skolnick, Author
Arlene S. Skolnick, Author Basic Books $23 (304p) ISBN 978-0-465-01923-6
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-465-01924-3
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Decrying recent ``nostalgia for the lost family,'' especially as idealized in such 1950s TV shows as Ozzie and Harriet , research psychologist Skolnick ( The Intimate Environment ) suggests in this debatable but determinedly positive history that the traditional structure, though not necessarily the value system, of the American family has been radically transformed. Examining American family life from its colonial and frontier patterns to the present, she contends that changes wrought by post-1960s sexual and cultural revolutions (as observed, e.g., in feminism, gay pride, increased cohabitation and single parenting) are adaptations to demographic trends and a stagnant economy. The need for women to be wage earners is less threatening to family values, she insists, than is our society's overemphasis of individualism and self-fulfillment. (Nov.)
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