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Cover of Marriage: A History
A review of Marriage: A History by Stephanie Coontz

This fascinating social history tracks the institution, or what is now known as an "institution", of marriage through all its practical, political, religious, and romantic iterations and uses. There are surprising arrangements and partnerships between families, clans, or individual people at just about every point in history from pre-history to today. Like most social histories, a major takeaway that the "good old days" never existed, and that the soaring divorce rates are directly tied to the very new idea that marriage is based on romantic love, intimacy, and personal fulfillment. Getting to this takeaway is great, great, fun.

It's an accessible, fascinating read, and by the time you're finished reading you'll have anecdotes to pull out at cocktail parties for years to come. 

February 12, 2019