THE ROAD TO RENO by Nelson Manfred Blake


Email this review


This is the first History of Divorce in the United States since 1904, by a Professor at Syracuse University, which, without going into the ""fifty different jurisdictions"" covers the main trends as well as the changing attitudes. It soon becomes apparent that the road to Reno is paved with - not so much the failure of good intentions- but the inconsistencies and inadequacies of our legislation, and the artificial and sometimes profit - motivated attempts to circumvent it. Professor Blake traces the historical antecedents of divorce, through colonial times, and on down to the 19th century when liberalizing influences (particularly woman suffrage) were often confused by the issue of free love. While New York (the main offender) continued its policy of one-ground divorce, the first divorce Meccas mushroomed (Indiana, the Dakotas, Utah); Mexico offered mail order divorce, while other areas encouraged migratory divorce and benefitted from a tourist trade. Reforms have been attempted, but there are always political (and religious- the Catholic Church) considerations; the Supreme Court has dealt with various cases and positions on out of state divorces; the divorce rate has accelerated, with the standard of living, and the stigma has diminished; but still we are faced with the need to revise not only the laws which govern divorce but also the procedures which might ""reduce the human damage"". It is, all in all, a downright and cogent bill of particulars which may reach a wider readership through some of its attendant scandals and skirmishes.

Pub Date: March 12th, 1962
Publisher: Macmillan