/ Book Reviews

Coontz, Stephanie. (2005). Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy or How Love Conquered Marriage. New York:Viking/Penguin, 448 pp., ISBN 0-6700-3407-X, $25.95 hardcover.

Stephanie Coontz masterfully executes a massive undertaking in her most recent book, Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy or How Love Conquered Marriage. In the book, Coontz traces the history of marriage from ancient tribal societies through to the close of the twentieth century, describing the changes in the institution over time, the structural forces shaping it, and the effects of these changes on the everyday lives of individuals. No small undertaking indeed! It is most impressive that given the scope of this book there are only a few areas that might have benefited from an expanded analysis. For instance, the combination her discussion of marriage during the Great Depression and World War II into one chapter results in a somewhat cursory treatment of marriage during the Depression. Additionally, in the first half of the book Coontz effectively demonstrates how the institution of marriage has varied across time and space; however, her examination of marriage in modern society in the second half of the book becomes more limited to the United States. Readers may lose a sense of how the institution varies across space, or perhaps how such variation has been circumscribed by globalization.

With this ambitious project, Coontz makes several important feminist contributions to the family field. The amount of general historical information presented in this book, based upon data collected from literature, marriage advice books, court cases, and diaries, and Coontz's expert analysis thereof, is itself a major contribution to the field. The book also makes more specific contributions. First and foremost, Coontz demonstrates that—ironically—as the emphasis on marriage for love has increased marital satisfaction, it has also made the institution itself less stable. Second, Coontz demonstrates that many of our assumptions about marriage are grossly oversimplified. For instance, she convincingly argues that the two central theories about the origins of marriage—that the institution emerged so that men could protect women, and conversely that it emerged so that men could exploit women—both obfuscate the important functions that marriage served for the larger kin groups and communities. Third, Coontz illustrates in the book that the consequences of the historical changes in the family and gender roles were often mixed and should not be glossed over as having been either entirely negative or positive. For instance, the Victorian notion of female purity certainly circumscribed women's actions, but it also gave women leverage to refuse the unwanted sexual advances of men. Similarly, although some women experienced more respect and autonomy with the increased reverence for female domesticity, other women were vilified for failing to live up to the domestic ideal. Finally, using the case of marriage, this book illustrates how the experiences of individuals are shaped by the intersection of gender, class, race, and sexuality. Throughout the book, Coontz is careful to point out how the experience of marriage has historically varied depending upon one's gender, race, class, and, of course, sexuality.

In this book, Coontz is also able to provide some useful policy suggestions, which is especially important given the current rhetoric and policies inspired by assumptions about "the crisis of marriage." One point that is especially cogent is that the historical changes to marriage and the alternatives to it have been marshaled in by heterosexual individuals, and that the demands for and policies in favor of lesbian and gay marriages have not and will not create a crisis in the institution of marriage. Coontz addresses the policy considerations surrounding other currently popular topics related to the family. For instance, she argues that making divorces more difficult to obtain would not be a productive way to reduce the high divorce rate, since doing so would likely not discourage divorce itself but might end up discouraging people from getting married. She also tackles the notion that the poverty endured by some groups is due to their declining marriage rates and the associated contention that low-income individuals should be encouraged to marry. She explains that policies aimed at encouraging low-income women to marry assumes that they are not marrying because they do not value the institution and also obscures the economic reasons they have for not marrying.

Coontz argues that instead of instituting policies to promote marriage we should be providing resources to promote healthy relationships and to improve parenting, for both married and unmarried individuals. She also contends that we need to re-evaluate society's work policies, school schedules, and social programs which were based on the now outdated assumption of male-breadwinner families, and specifically recommends subsidized parental leaves, flexible work schedules, high-quality child care, and access to counseling. This book will therefore be of great interest to those concerned with policies related to the family, the institutions of marriage and the family more generally, and gender studies.

Amy J. Fitzgerald
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan

Jacobs, Jerry A., & Gerson, Kathleen (2004). The Time Divide: Work, Family, and Gender Inequality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 272 pp., ISBN 0-6740-1153-8, $45.00 hardcover.

In The Time Divide: Work, Family, and Gender Inequality, Jerry A. Jacobs and Kathleen Gerson unfold the complexities and causes of the family time constraints faced by American workers. Rather than focusing on workers in the aggregate, they utilize several national (and one international) data sources to examine important variations among workers, such as part-time versus full-time, and by family circumstances, such as dual-earner and single-parent families. This approach reveals inequalities among workers in which time becomes a scarce resource for some (parents, the overworked), while other groups deal with underemployment or enjoy increasing leisure (young singles, empty nesters). In addition to the work-family divide, they uncover four time divides: a) an occupational divide, in which some jobs demand very long hours and some not enough; b) an aspiration divide between workers actual and preferred working time; c)a parenting divide that puts parents in a disadvantaged and precarious position; and d) a gender divide. Jacobs and Gerson present a structural explanation of the family time pressures workers face, arguing that reforms in the organization of work are necessary to accommodate the dramatic family changes that have taken place as women increase their annual hours in employment and the numbers of dual-earner families and single-parent families have increased.

The authors make a feminist contribution to the family field by illustrating how gender structures the distribution of time within families. They show how women, in comparison to men, shoulder more responsibility for domestic work and face greater obstacles at work, such as less autonomy and flexibility across the class spectrum. In addition, women face greater pressure to make sacrifices, such as working fewer hours, than men do. Jacobs and Gerson demonstrate the ways the economy and the structure of work shape such a gender divide, lending little support to common assumptions that women more often work part-time than men out of personal preference. On the contrary, the authors find women and men's aspirations and ideals to be converging. Both women and men tend to prefer a flexible balance between work and home. Making those preferences a viable option for workers of both sexes, however, presents policy challenges. Although family friendly policies are needed, Jacobs and Gerson's analysis challenges the assumption that such policies, by definition, promote gender equality. In their cross-cultural comparison between the U.S. and nine other countries, not one was both family friendly and gender equitable.

Jacobs and Gerson offer useful insights for policy makers and practitioners to help rectify the mismatch they uncover between workers' needs and the structure of work, which has changed little to meet those needs. Although offering family friendly policies to workers is a step in the right direction, they caution that the costs of utilizing policies for workers must be considered. Family supportive policies may be formally available but frowned upon by employers, creating conflicts for workers between their desires and their actions. Although workplace flexibility provides employers with benefits, such as increased worker loyalty, the desires of employers may not match those of workers. Therefore, Jacobs and Gerson argue that a restructuring in the organization of work is necessary. They recommend reforms that would promote a more equitable distribution of work time such as an extension of the Fair Labor Standards Act to all salaried workers, a 35-hour work week, and providing mandatory benefits for all workers that are proportional to hours worked. Crucial to gender equity are affordable high quality child care and after-school programs. Such resources enable mothers to maintain connections to work after the birth of a child and to sustain full-time work. All countries in international comparisons with a gender equitable division of work time for parents had a high public investment in child care. Thus, Jacobs and Gerson propose that "reform efforts should uphold two important principles: equality of opportunity for women and men, and generous [penalty free] support for all involved parents, regardless of gender and class position" (p. 202).

E. Brooke Kelly
University of North Carolina
Pembroke, North Carolina

Hansen, Karen V. (2005). Not-So-Nuclear Families: Class, Gender, and Networks of Care. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 261 pp., ISBN 0-8135-3501-8, $22.95 paper.

The notion that individuals and families should be self-sufficient and independent pervades American ideology. Yet, few families could survive without a network of people that aid in the care of children. These caregivers are, as Karen Hansen suggests, "invisible to academics, policy makers, and the public in general" (p. 210). Not-So-Nuclear Families uncovers these networks of care that families rely upon for basic and complex needs. While some family studies have compared class differences in the challenges of parental caregiving, few studies have examined common themes and connections between class location and the complex interdependence of individuals in caregiving. Hansen specifically researches how families care for children, highlighting the American tradition of independence and the challenges of interdependence in raising families in a complex economic system (a system that often limits choice and agency in how families in varying class locations give and receive care). Further, because families have been transformed by changes in economic structure that demand dual labor-force participation, Hansen argues that women and men have not only radically altered their roles as parents but also the way in which they ask for and receive help in parenting.

Hansen follows four White families from varying class locations (i.e., working class, middle class, professional middle class, and upper class) to explore the ways in which the social location of class constructs the ways in which families build networks of care. Because women are traditionally viewed as the primary caregiver in families (specifically of children and elderly parents) Hansen requires each woman to identify a network of people that she depends on physically (e.g., picking children up from school) or emotionally (e.g., advice about children's behavioral issues) to aid in caregiving. Hansen interviews each member in the network to build case profiles of the ways in which families depend upon others to satisfy the American ideology of self sufficiency and independence. In Not-So-Nuclear Families she presents each case study as a separate chapter detailing how the "anchor"—that is, the initial woman interviewed—and their corresponding networks of kin and nonkin engage in the caregiving network.

Hansen analyzes differences and parallels through class and gender comparisons displaying what care options are available to anchors, how they access these options, and what their networks of care mean despite their economic standing. While this research does not overlook the unique constraints and difficulties that individuals in different class locations face in caregiving, perhaps the most striking findings are the commonalities between the working and upper class that Hansen's research illuminates. Where much of the scholarly literature on race, class, and gender locations highlights differences, Hansen's research begins to suggest that—at least where family is concerned—those at varying points on the economic ladder may utilize similar networks of care for the similar reasons. Specifically, although the anchors in the working-class and upper-class family engage in different styles of including or excluding network members people, their caring networks consisted of more nonkin and paid careworkers than kin. Alternatively, the two families in the middle classes relied mostly on blood kin to aid in caregiving. Although this research does not explore the gendered division of labor in caregiving, Hansen does explore how men feel about caregiving, which is a significant contribution to the literature on caregiving, parenting, and the construction of masculinities. Her research specifically begins to uncover the complex ways in which men define what it means to give care and how it impacts the women in their caring networks.

Overall, this well researched book is an important contribution to those who study class, gender, and race in families and is significant because of its focus on class locations. It is also important academically in that it fills gender and class gaps in the caregiving literature. Finally, it has significance for applied fields as well because social policies and practice need to make available caregiving support in ways that provide help in various arrangements. This work supports the idea that all families across the class spectrum need flexibility in care, and flexibility is what can "...insure that the gender of caregiving in the future will not be always and forever female" (p. 217).

Mary Byrnes
Wayne State University
Detroit, Michigan

Hill, Shirley A. (2005). Black Intimacies: A Gender Perspective on Families and Relationships. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira, 256 pp., ISBN 0-7591-0152-3, $24.95 paper.

Black Intimacies is the latest volume in the Gender Lens series and, in the spirit of series, Shirley A. Hill's project is to make gender (as it intersects with other inequalities) visible in the analysis of Black families and intimate relationships. She builds on and critiques revisionist and historical research as well as intersectionality theory. She makes a case for the inclusion of cultural analysis as a way to understand how people adapt to poverty and oppression and exercise agency as they maneuver their ways through unfriendly social institutions. Hill argues that disregarding the diversity of African American families has led to a lack of research on class, gender, and color diversity, complicating the desire for equality that stems from a shared history of oppression and struggle. The author turns her feminist/gender lens to how the identities and experiences of African Americans have been shaped by hegemonic patriarchal norms and their economic and structural inability to conform to these norms. She critiques the legacy-of-slavery thesis and the revisionist approach, arguing that these perspectives have typically accepted the primacy of hegemonic family and gender structures, providing explanations for Blacks' failure to achieve these norms. Instead, Hill proposes a postmodern analysis that critiques and builds on previous research, challenging the assumption of a universal Black experience and bringing a gender focus to the fluid and dynamic experiences of African Americans.

Hill acknowledges the importance of shared history and reasons that slavery created a work-family-gender system that prioritized work roles, making the achievement of hegemonic family and gender norms impossible. She challenges the ideal that marriage, sexuality, and childbearing were connected. Under this system, African American women gained valuable gender, economic, and cultural resources that provided them the ability to resist family and gender systems which contradicted their traditions and social status. Hill points out, however, that recent social and economic policies (e.g., welfare, wedfare) have undermined Black women's ability to head their own families in the community-based traditions to which they have become accustomed. Hill contends that there is a conflict between the gender, family, and cultural ideologies African American women and men espouse and their lived experience. If we are to understand the intimate relationships between women and men, motherhood and fatherhood, social-class and gender socialization and domestic violence, we must aim our gender lens at these contradictions. The ideologies, family practices, and traditions that are now defined as "Black culture" emerged from a history of racial oppression, but the current reality of their negative impact on the poor requires that this culture be subjected to a critical analysis.

While certainly not a handbook for activists and policy makers, Black Intimacies provides a feminist analysis (without resorting to lengthy notes and citations) of African American families and relationships that the novice interested in issues of gender (and race, class, and sexual) oppression will find useful. Hill gives her readers a succinct history and accessible explanation of the research and theory on race and family in the United States, providing a context for understanding how racial inequality continues to exist even though there are no longer explicit laws supporting it and opportunities for Black Americans have increased. Practitioners and policy makers working to reduce teen pregnancy, eliminate domestic violence, enhance intimate relationships, increase the number of children whose fathers are active in their lives, or improve the economic and educational situations of African American families will find this book an excellent read.

Heather Laube
The University of Michigan
Flint, Michigan

Loe, Meika. (2004). The Rise of Viagra: How the Little Blue Pill Changed Sex in America. New York: New York University Press, 287 pp., ISBN 0-8147-5200-4, $27.95 hardcover.

Meika Loe's book is the first to look at the historical and social impact of the sexual enhancement drug, Viagra. Loe argues that Viagra is constructed by particular individuals and institutions, that is, developers and marketers at Pfizer Pharmaceutical, doctors, patients, critics, and journalists. All have a different stake and need in Viagra; thus the drug's definition derives from the efforts and perspectives of many different interest groups. Loe, therefore, shows that Viagra is not shaped and defined solely by Pfizer Pharmaceutical and other medical institutions but by the diversity of people who use and/or think about Viagra. Using a qualitative approach and making an effort to talk to people of different race and social-class locations, Loe interviewed doctors, patients, patients' partners, and individuals at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. She also attended medical meetings and visited men's support groups, pharmacies, and senior citizen organizations to unveil the cultural definitions and impact of Viagra.

The Rise of Viagra contributes greatly to recent literature on sex and sexual dysfunction. Yet this book is also important for its contribution to literature on gender and relationships. First, although Viagra is a drug for men, Loe uses this book to give a voice to women, whose needs and concerns are often overshadowed by men's when scholars study and write about drugs like Viagra. Loe argues that both men and women feel and experience the effects of Viagra and its social constructions. Second, The Rise of Viagra adds to literature on families and intimate relationships as well as to the literature in more applied fields. Because Loe purposely includes many personal vignettes from her interviews with men and their female sexual partners, this book is able to show the diversity and uniqueness of each user of Viagra. Thus, family scholars, counselors, and health-care practitioners may gain knowledge about how Viagra affects different couples' sex lives differently; thus those working in applied fields could gain from this book because Loe shows how important it is to stay clear of overgeneralizations about the meaning and use of Viagra. Loe's work also clearly shows family scholars how one individual's experiences within a family inevitably impact all members of that family, because she describes how women are affected as much as men who use this drug.

Third, because one of Loe's main points is to illustrate how Viagra is defined and experienced by multiple stakeholders, The Rise of Viagra can also give insight to those who market Viagra. Loe indicates that Pfizer Pharmaceuticals has narrowly marketed Viagra to middle-aged, economically stable, primarily White males, yet her scholarship suggests that there are many others that are using and thinking about Viagra. Thus even those marketing Viagra could learn from this book in that it clearly shows the wider social impact that this drug has had. Finally, because Loe offers countless stories of couples' use of Viagra, lay individuals may gain from reading this book as well.

Bryan Kingry
Wayne State University
Detroit, Michigan

Townsend, Nicholas W. (2002). The Package Deal: Marriage, Work and Fatherhood in Men's Lives. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 248 pp., ISBN 1-5663-9958-0, $21.95 paper.

With The Package Deal: Marriage, Work and Fatherhood in Men's Lives, Nicholas Townsend adds a sorely needed perspective to the national debates, both academic and popular, about the contemporary significance and meaning of fatherhood—what some fathers, themselves, are saying about the meaning of fatherhood. The package deal to which Townsend refers in his book is what he considers the dominant cultural ideal by which middle-class men measure success in their lives: four interconnected elements consisting of "having children, being married, holding a steady job, and owning a home" (p. 2). He arrived at this meaning through interviews and participant observation he conducted with 39 men, all in their 30s and members in a mid-1970s graduating class of a high school located in a lower-, middle-, and working-class area of "Meadowview," the fictitious name of a town in the San Francisco Bay area; as well as with several of their contemporaries, wives, parents, and former female classmates and teachers.

Townsend's pro-feminist approach to conceptualizing fatherhood and masculinity in contemporary middle-class families reveals a more nuanced picture of the gendered components of fatherhood in everyday family life that often go overlooked in the literature predominating family studies. Three facets of Townsend's work make it unique among a growing body of literature that is moving within reach of explaining fatherhood, men, and masculinities through feminist-inspired generative (rather than deficit) theorizing. First, Townsend employs an analytic lens that provides for gender's considerable organizational power in systematizing fatherhood, "as both an institution and experience [that] incorporates gendered expectations of fathers and mothers, of husbands and wives, and of sons and daughters" (p. 192). Second, he does not simply validate different experiences men have with fatherhood and their families (e.g., because of marital status, race, class, sexual orientation, age) by casting aspersions on traditional ideation related to gender roles or families generated by a frequently naive acceptance of the many assumptions that accompany "dominant cultural values." Rather, Townsend exposes a fresh component to the hegemonic patterns that men may experience in making sense of their family lives because of their acceptance of the prescriptive elements in the "dominant cultural values," their struggling to measure up to them, and their (in)ability to use these principles to explain situations in their lives. Third, few works approach the level of scrutiny Townsend uses to examine the relationality involved in how men,women, and kin networks labor together to construct culturally valid and valued meanings of fatherhood and masculinities and of gendered identities.

Implications arising from Townsend's work are a direct challenge to current policy predicated on what men do not do as fathers, individual men's failures, or their refusal to comply with societal expectations inherent in "dominant cultural values." The Package Deal clearly reveals a desperate need for policy makers to recognize the interconnections between differing realms of men's lives. This work makes it clear that focusing on interconnections is key to understanding how men manage their "package deal" in order to recast seemingly contradictory components of their lives into meaningful and positive contributions as fathers. It provides a contextual backdrop for deciphering the family and work decisions men make in response to structural changes. This work is a summons to pro-family policy makers to redirect their course toward addressing some of the new constraints under which men operate in the 21st century, men whose aspirations for and definition of success are closely aligned with popular middle-class ideals. It calls for pro-women and children policy makers to revise antiquated notions of gender expressions. If their policy is to diminish the inequalities inherent in dual-earner families and to encourage financial support from unmarried fathers, Townsend's work speaks to their need for understanding how "package deal" simultaneously encourages men to equate successful fatherhood with stable employment and discourages many of them from contributing in significant ways to reproductive labor.

Rudy G. Hernandez
The University of Michigan
Flint, Michigan