FATHERHOOD IN AMERICA by Robert L. Griswold

FATHERHOOD IN AMERICA

A History
Age Range: 1850 - 1890
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Griswold (American History/University of Oklahoma; Family and Divorce in California, 1850-1890, 1983--not reviewed) surveys how, since 1800, fatherhood in America has been shaped by economic necessity, political opportunity, social expectations, and, recently, by the personal needs of fathers themselves. This is a tale of changing systems and shifting roles: As men spent more time away from home in the 19th century, and women acquired custody rights over their children, the state not only assumed power over education, but the traditional image of fathers as providers, protectors, and authority figures also began to fade. Fathers black and white, urban and rural, rich and poor--all were marginalized or displaced, and even the most successful patriarchal systems were defeated by the emerging liberal and youth-oriented culture of the 20th century. As models of family life changed in the 1930's, men were required to become more nurturing and companionable, and the family evolved into an emotional as much as an economic center. For postwar fathers, parenting replaced work as a source of identity, with patriarchs becoming pals, Little League coaches, and the men behind the barbecue. The revolutionary 60's and their aftermath produced a ``kaleidoscope of fatherhood'': breadwinners could become ``breadlosers''; protectors could become abusers; and some dads abandoned their children to the state, which had already undermined their authority. Other men had multiple families, leaving one fathering-situation to start another. Finally, a whole therapeutic culture arose identifying the ``wild men and wimps'' and assisting men in fathering ``the child within,'' as well their flesh-and-blood kids. Provocative, informed, wide-ranging, and full of specific detail without being academic. (Illustrations--not seen)

Pub Date: June 20th, 1993
ISBN: 0-465-00140-8
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Basic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1993




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

IndieSTEALING HOME by Ron  Seybold
by Ron Seybold