The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap “Leave It to Beaver” was not a documentary, Stephanie Coontz points out; neither the. By Stephanie Coontz In , I published The Way We Never Were: American Families And The Nostalgia Trap, a search for the supposed. The Way We Never Were has ratings and reviews. Wealhtheow said: Coontz presents the historical facts of American family life and political and.

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Withoutabox Submit to Film Festivals. Individualism Gender Myths and the Problem of Love. It dispels the “those were the good old days” mythology of America’s nwver past. She takes careful aim at traditional historical narratives, which typically seek to establish one or two central metaphors and then bend historical events to fit them.

Nov 30, Michele rated it really liked it Shelves: References to this book Avoiding Politics: It appears to rely only on verifiable, reproducible scientific observations; none of the persons who support Donald Trump has read this book!

The decade proved profamily–the birthrate rose dramatically; social problems wd nag–gangs, drugs, violence–weren’t even on the horizon. Read more Read less.

The Way We Never Were – Author Stephanie Coontz

Mar 29, Lyn rated it liked it Shelves: But who really has a traditional family? It is nevef ahistorical amalgam of structures, values, sere behaviors that never coexisted in the same time and place. Dec 10, Damona rated it really liked it Shelves: Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Some of the numbers are probably dated now, but if anything many of the issues of isola I’ve said for years that this country tends to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to the 50s and early 60s.

Please try again later. View all 3 comments. And there was Coontz, the Evergreen State College professor of history and family studies, using history to demonstrate that Quayle’s vision was a seductive myth. May 10, K rated it really liked it Shelves: Nevet the Home Gift Guide. Hah– nothing is new under the sun. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews.

While the publication date isit’s, sadly, far from outdatd. But it is also about a number of other subjects, too, including analyzing how families are structured and how they related to the world around tje looking at family structures throughout US history; analyzing the black family to show that black family structures can be different from white ones because of what the black American experience has done to black communities; and looking at why our economic system, not feminism or liberalism, is to blame for the current fragmentation of the US family.


Dec 02, David rated it really liked it. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s looking to delve a little deeper into all those claims that things were so much better back then. Published October 6th by Wree Books Inc. Your assumptions have wee be brought forward in your mind and compared with facts.

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

In doing so, she draws upon her deep knowledge of the way that families have evolved over time, revealing that our “family values” have always been specific to our time, place, class, ethnicity, and sub-culture, and have always been changing.

This book is a wonderful education.

Gender, too, is always on Coontz’s mind. Life in the s was no different. Dec 04, Emily rated it it was ok.

It’s always easier to stay on the sidelines and claim status as a non-participant when things don’t work out. Marriages in pioneer days lasted a shorter time than they do now. Her commendably straightforward writing demonstrates a rare mixture of ambiguity and clarity, making her arguments both accessible and also appropriately difficult to nail down. She unpacks several myths, one at a time, including the idea that American families were always self-reliant, the idea that women were always stay-at-home, hands-on mothers, the idea that alcoholism, drug abuse, and teen pregnancy are modern-day problems, etc.

She points out that drug abuse was more widespread a hundred years ago, alcohol consumption was three times higher, and prostitution and serious sexually transmitted infections were more prevalent.

The Way We Never Were: American Families & the Nostalgia Trap by Stephanie Coontz

There was Quayle, conjuring up a nostalgic vision of “traditional” American values sustained by “traditional” families that looked very much like s sitcom icons. Teenage pregnancy a modern problem, driven by easy access to birth control and the liberal media? While I enjoyed most of the book very much, the last few chapters, 9, 10, and 11, contained less historical perspective, being more focused on the political and social causes of current issues and less on how these particular issues have been handled at earlier times in our history.


Return to Book Page. From “a man’s home was his castle” to “traditional families never asked for a handout,” this provocative book explodes cherished illusions about the past. The Way We Never Were examines two centuries of American family life and shatters a series of myths and half-truths that burden modern families.

The book is surprisingly easy to read English is my third language, so sometimes I struggle with academic booksvery informative and interesting.

Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Women could not have credit cards in their own name, nor could I in the 60’s, and that irritated me then! Here she provides strong evidence that many of the traits we consider normal and traditional are actually historical aberrations that occurred mostly among some white, middle-class families in the USA in the s.

Feminism Working Women Consumerism and. Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. And while I found myself glossing over much of the statistical information most of which I assume is too outdated to be useful outside a purely historical contextI was delighted to find that The Way We Never Were offers a highly intelligent and nuanced look at family life in twentieth century American history. Touching on economics, ideals, gender roles, child rearing philosophy, marriage, religion, families, this book has taught me so much about our history that I never learned in school.

Coontz takes us through American history and explores chapter-by-chapter such Truthy ideas as Families stand on their own two feet, A Man’s home is his castle, The Feminist movement is responsible for domestic failure, First comes love then marriage then baby, as well as mind-blowing historical discussions of the ideas of women and men’s separate spheres, and love, and consumerism It reminds me of the meaning of education, the real reason to go to college and read books– there are things you can’t intuit by yourself– you have to be shown.