A World of Their Own Making: Myth, Ritual, and the Quest for Family Values

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Harvard University Press, 1997 - Social Science - 310 pages
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Our whole society may be obsessed with "family values," but as John Gillis points out in this entertaining and eye-opening book, most of our images of "home sweet home" are of very recent vintage. A World of Their Own Making questions our idealized notion of "The Family," a mind-set in which myth and symbol still hold sway. As the families we live with become more fragile, the symbolic families we live by become more powerful. Yet it is only by accepting the notion that our ritual, myths, and images must be open to perpetual revision that we can satisfy our human needs and changing circumstances.
 

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A WORLD OF THEIR OWN MAKING: Myth, Ritual, and the Quest for Family Values

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A thoughtful debunking of the American family's mythic past. Gillis (History/Rutgers Univ.) quite ably proves that, contrary to popular opinion, there never has been a ``Golden Age'' of family values ... Read full review

Contents

At Home with Families of Strangers
20
Life and Death in a Small Parenthesis
41
PART II
59
Making Times for Family
81
No Place Like Home
109
PART III
131
Mothers Giving Birth to Motherhood
152
Strangers in Our Midst
179
Haunting the Dead
201
PART IV
223
Notes
241
Index
299
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About the author (1997)

John R. Gillis is Professor of History at Rutgers University and the author ofFor Better, For Worse: British Marriages, 1600 to the Present.

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