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The Way We Never Were
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The Way We Never Were

American Families and the Nostalgia Trap

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The definitive edition of the classic, myth-shattering history of the American family

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 examines 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, exploring how the clash between growing gender equality and rising economic inequality is reshaping family life, marriage, and male-female relationships in our modern era.

More relevant than ever, The Way We Never Were is a potent corrective to dangerous nostalgia for an American tradition that never really existed.

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