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A short, but incisive book on a neglected subject. Kornhaber speaks with passion and clarity in outlining what he thinks are the problems faced by the intergenerational family in its struggle to succor and love one another. In a straightforward manner, the author discusses the roles of grandparents, parents and grandchildren. He uses case studies to elucidate common difficulties such as feuds, in-laws, remarriage, competing and indifferent family members and a host of other dilemmas faced by many Americans. His basic concepts are the ""natural"" vs. the ""contractual family."" In the natural-family, disputes and differences are resolved in a reasonable, respectful manner by people committed to one another. This is an ideal that some achieve easily, but others should aim for. Unfortunately, the contractual family seems to dominate the scene today. In this situation, intergenerational members take a sink-or-swim approach in dealing with their relations and often do not even wish to be bothered. The grandparents who distance themselves to avoid their families are a painful example of this process. The author is too aware of the complexities of the issues to suggest simple-minded answers. However, he does offer us encouragement because of his faith in the ability of families to work out their destinies. This is not only a book for those with problems; the coping family will find reassurance and insight as well.

Pub Date: May 19th, 1986
Publisher: St. Martin's