The Way We Really Are: Coming to Terms with America's Changing Families
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The Way We Really Are: Coming to Terms with America's Changing Families

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  102 ratings  ·  10 reviews

Stephanie Coontz, the author of The Way We Never Were, now turns her attention to the mythology that surrounds today's family--the demonizing of "untraditional" family forms and marriage and parenting issues. She argues that while it's not crazy to miss the more hopeful economic trends of the 1950s and 1960s, few would want to go back to the gender roles and race relations

Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 9th 1998 by Basic Books (first published 1997)
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Erika RS
This is one of those books where I underlined something on nearly every page. Coontz believes in getting beyond rhetoric and into data to figure out what works and doesn't work for families. She doesn't try to live in some unrealistic fantasy that the traditional[1] nuclear family is going to come back or that solves all problems. Instead, she examines the strengths and weaknesses of the many different family types that exist in the US -- they all have both strengths and weaknesses relative to t...more
Billie Pritchett
Stephanie Coontz's Way We Really Are didn't really speak to me. It could be because I'm not married or that I don't have children, but I suspect it has more to do with the structure of the book. In her previous book, The Way We Never Were, Coontz spent most of her time looking at the ways in which American families differed over time. One of the major insights that emerged from the book was that the nuclear family of the 1950s, which is so idealized in America today, was a rebellion from the pre...more
Yes, yes required. However, very interesting book. Its a little outdated, it was written in the 90s, but still a great read on families. It begins with some fantastic insight into the history of families, and then transitioned up to where we were at in the 90s. I found it to be really educational, and also very positive about families and how they "really are" as the title states. It had some great solutions for the problems facing children in our society, and for issues relating to single paren...more
Josephine Ensign
Liked this book better than 'The Way We Never Were' because it included more real life stories to illustrate her main points. Less stat/research study-heavy.
you know, after this massive paper, i feel like i became pseudo-coontz fan. by that i mean that i'm not, but i had access to a good number of books from her. the way we really are was practically her response and reassurance to the general public that families are not going to disappear from america. not that that fact is anything new, i think she said that one like page 2 of her intro. but b/c of that aim, she spends the majority of the time debunking family myths about american "tradition." qu...more
Stephanie A.
Read cover to cover in 2008 (there must have been an updated edition, right?) for class, so it's going on here. Did not bore or enrage me the way I expected it would from the title, and in fact, if I hadn't had the class just a bit too late, I would have seriously considered making a minor out of sociology because it was that fascinating to study.
I always get side-tracked by the sociology section in book stores (and I should stay away!). I'm not exactly "enjoying" this book, but I am learning a lot. I wouldn't call it "academic per se", but it doesn't read in a conversational tone. Still - interesting!
Courtney Shah
I think I prefer her other work, more focused on history than on sociological evidence for modern public policy. Still, this has some wonderful insights.
Jan 29, 2008 Samira added it
Shelves: exam-reading
Most of what I said about Marriage, a History would also apply here. This argument it much more based in contemporary society, however.
Fascinating and right on as a follow up to "The Way We Never Were"!
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Stephanie Coontz teaches history and family studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and is Director of Research and Public Education for the Council on Contemporary Families, which she chaired from 2001-04. Coontz is the author of "A Strange Stirring": The Feminine Mystique and the Wives of "The Greatest Generation" (Basic Books, forthcoming 2010) and the award-winning Marri...more
More about Stephanie Coontz...
Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage The Way We Never Were: American Families & the Nostalgia Trap A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique & American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s The Social Origins of Private Life: A History of American Families 1600-1900 (Haymarket) American Families: A Multicultural Reader

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