A guide that dashes back and forth from sex, to houses, to children as pawns, to money, and back to children again--and doesn't have many lucid opinions to offer along the way. The authors know all the hotspots and they try to prepare the reader for them by insisting that we reexamine what went wrong last time, what we expect this time around; they also emphasize the need to give children ample warning of an impending remarriage. But all this does is to throw the reader back on his other personal resources; the problem areas are spotlighted--sort of--but not really illuminated. Occasionally a strong word of advice or caution is deemed in order--as when we are urged to buy a new house, wherever feasible, rather than merge two families into a home already belonging to one (which creates insiders and outsiders). But too often the hard facts are hiding behind cautionary tales about the ex-husband who lived too close to the newly reconstituted family and interfered in disputes, or the remarried couple who were in for a shock--he expected her to go on working, she thought at last she could quit. What this adds up to is that a lot of self-probing, time, and understanding are required to make the whole thing work; it's estimated here that a stepfamily takes up to five years to become a working unit with its own identity. For a more penetrating look, see Leslie Westoff's The Second Time Around (1977).