When historian and social critic Barbara Dafoe Whitehead first cast her eye on divorce - in an Atlantic Monthly article entitled "Dan Quayle Was Right" - she provoked a firestorm of media debate. Now she has deepened and broadened her view of an American institution in a book of watershed importance. Divorce, says Whitehead, is now so deeply entrenched in America that it has engendered a "divorce culture". From divorce as a last resort to divorce as a means of self-expression and personal growth, Whitehead chronicles a sea change in the American way of breaking up. She traces the connections between broken marriages and impoverished and neglected children. Although it is far from an indictment of divorce per se, The Divorce Culture compels us to recognize its profound moral and social consequences - and it does so with an intelligence and conviction that are wholly persuasive and often deeply affecting.
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