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Marriage, a History

How Love Conquered Marriage
Narrated by: Callie Beaulieu
Length: 15 hrs and 32 mins
Categories: History, World
5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

Non-member price: $41.73

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Publisher's Summary

Just when the clamor over "traditional" marriage couldn't get any louder, along comes this groundbreaking book to ask, "What tradition?"

In Marriage, a History, historian and marriage expert Stephanie Coontz takes listeners from the marital intrigues of ancient Babylon to the torments of Victorian lovers to demonstrate how recent the idea of marrying for love is - and how absurd it would have seemed to most of our ancestors. It was when marriage moved into the emotional sphere in the 19th century, she argues, that it suffered as an institution just as it began to thrive as a personal relationship. This enlightening and hugely entertaining book brings intelligence, perspective, and wit to today's marital debate.

©2005 SJ Coontz Company (P)2016 Tantor

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  • A. Fritz
  • 27-04-2017

Nuke-you-ler

First, the narration was very dry. This is a much more interesting book than the narration suggests.

Also, the narrator pronounces nuclear "nuke-you-ler" about a thousand times. Nuclear families are obviously going to come up a lot in a book like this, and every time it did it made me physically cringe.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Brett V Kensington
  • 21-07-2019

Narrators Need to Educate Themselves

The book is excellent. The narrator is horribly unprofessional. Don't guess at pronunciation if you are narrator! The reader evidently knows nothing of history and keeps referring to "Samuel Pepiss" for Pepys. It's grating and embarrassing and detracts from a valuable text.

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  • Elena Macias
  • 23-11-2018

I wish l had heard this book before I married!

Finally, a researched explanation of what most take for granted. Should be read by high school students.

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  • Ky
  • 16-11-2018

Educational heading into wedding season

The story was good. A bit long in places and a little repetitive. I thought the history would include where modern traditions (something blue, something borrowed) would include more of. But overall a good listen.

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  • HMB
  • 18-09-2018

Robotic performance, interesting info

I nearly deleted this audiobook over the poor performance. It makes the author seem clinical and unfeeling. I saw a video interview with the author, however, and realizing she is in fact human and has passion for her work, so I decided to see what else she had to say within this book.

That said, the narrator is horribly robotic. I’m sure she could be worse, so I won’t give one star. But I find myself sometimes struggling to pay attention. Also, she pronounces the word nuclear “nuke-u-ler.” Embarrassing. I am shocked no one bothered to correct this.

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  • Marco
  • 30-08-2018

Coontz is so good!

Coontz is great! I felt like the narration was a little drier than I would have liked but I got over it quickly because I was captivated by the writing.

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  • Rachel Cumberbatch
  • 13-04-2018

interesting overview

I read this before my wedding. It offered a very interesting overview of marriage and how it's changed over the years.

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  • K. Chavez
  • 06-02-2018

very informative

Wonderful book. The most important thing I learned from this is that the idea of traditional marriage is a myth. There is no one format for marriage. Like language, it is always changing and it always will, so we might focus on where the changes are going rather than clinging to a short-lived 50s style marriage. For example, the idea of marriage for love is so new to human history. I realized how little we know about such a common social institution.

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  • Jason Close
  • 25-09-2017

A great review on actual history

I enjoyed the book. It is an actual history book. There's not much of any political narrative; only the display of facts. You get taken through a lot of very early history of marriage (in early Biblical times), through the Middle Ages, Enlightenment, and then in recent times.

If you want a good understanding on how marriage has changed throughout history (not necessarily a whole lot of 'why'), then this is your book.

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  • thoman smith spiggle
  • 09-09-2017

A must-read, even if a bit slow.

About halfway through I was a little bored with a lot of redundancies, and had to put it down for a while. later on I became a little overwhelmed with what seem to be several chapters of satistics. However the rest of the book is incredible, and is worth waiting through the slow parts to read or listen to. in the end I would recommend this to everybody.

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  • Aztec
  • 24-06-2019

Brilliant!

This book was so interesting from start to finish. Every chapter, from the ancient world to the 21st century, was riveting. I had no idea how much and how frequently our ideals of marriage change and continue to change. It has really made me feel differently about marriage as a whole, but on a much more positive level than I expected. It is fascinating how much marriage affects our society, and vice versa.
TIP: Listen to it a x1.5 to stop the narration from dragging a bit.