Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Schwartz reviews Pleck, "Not Just Roommates"

The Los Angeles Review of Books recently ran a review of two books on "marriage promotion, cohabitation, and American politics." Contributor Madeleine Schwartz reviewed One Marriage Under God: The Campaign to Promote Marriage in America (New York University Press, 2012), by Melanie Heath, and Not Just Roommates: Cohabitation after the Sexual Revolution (University of Chicago Press, 2012), by Elizabeth Pleck. Here's one of the opening paragraphs of the review:
Today, Americans are getting married less and less; the numbers of unmarried couples and single parents have risen. And yet, marriage — idealized, perfected marriage, marriage “worth fighting for” — has never had such a strong hold on our political imagination. However much the practice may be waning on the ground, the concept of marriage has found a revived energy in the rhetoric of policy-makers and pundits on both the Right and the Left. Cultural conservatives rally around preserving a nostalgic image of the nuclear family, those good old days when a man could walk through the door to a pot roast and a set of smiling faces. Meanwhile, the most exciting political announcement of the last year for Democrats was President Obama’s concession that gay men and women, too, might one day get married. The more insistently Americans seem to be leaving the institution behind, the stronger its purchase on our language and public policy goals. Why? Two books help illustrate the persistence of these ideals. 
Read on here.

Hat tip: bookforum