Alone in America: The Search for Companionship

Louise Bernikow, Author HarperCollins Publishers $15.45 (255p) ISBN 978-0-06-015505-6
Alexis de Toqueville maintained that Americans are a people ""locked in the solitude of their own hearts.'' For this study of what she terms an epidemic of loneliness, Bernikow (Among Women, etc.) traveled the country interviewing people of all kinds. Loneliness is fostered by a number of external factors: the increasing number of older people, who often reside far from their children; the choice made by many liberated women to live on their own; the prevalence of later marriages and frequent divorces. However, this perceptive, beautifully written book probes far deeper into the nature of loneliness. Loneliness, Bernikow asserts, is a social disease of disconnection, often at the root of addiction, teenage pregnancy and suicide. Portraying many different casesadolescents, widows, widowers, those who live alone, family groups, people at work and the unemployedshe vividly illustrates how all are subject to loneliness for different reasons, and how each copes in his or her own way. Joining a community of some sort, she suggests, many help to alleviate feelings of isolation. Author tour. (March 19)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
Paperback - 978-0-571-12963-8
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