Fatherhood in America: a history

Front Cover
BasicBooks, 1993 - Family & Relationships - 356 pages
1 Review
From conservative hopes for the return of Old Testament patriarchs to "wildmen" searching for lost fathers, from deadbeat dads to "daddy trackers", the cultural meaning of fatherhood has become highly contested. Fatherhood in America is the first full-scale historical analysis of men's lives as parents. Illuminating the critical connection between fatherhood and male identity, this book explores the vital relationship between fathers, the men's movement, and feminism. Using intimate revelations from diaries and letters, prescriptive exhortations in popular magazines, impersonal social scientific surveys, and the superheated transcripts of congressional hearings, the book shows how the nineteenth-century patriarch, a man whose position as "breadwinner" was more or less unquestioned, has given way to the late twentieth-century "Dad", a man who, more often than not, shares the breadwinning burden with his wife. Fatherhood in America probes the economic, political, cultural, and demographic forces that account for this disorienting upheaval. "How we came to expect more than ever before from fathers without knowing quite what to expect is the story of fatherhood in the twentieth century", Robert L. Griswold writes. The book vividly explores a range of fascinating subjects: the surprisingly long history of calls for fathers to be more involved at home; the perplexing history of fatherhood among African-Americans; the poignant tensions between immigrant fathers and their Americanized offspring; the unresolved relationship between feminism and fatherhood; and the deployment of the fatherhood issue by the new right. Ironies abound: we discover how the very success of men as breadwinners freedtheir children from participating in the family economy and gave rise to a youth culture and a generation gap; how the trend toward consulting child-rearing "experts" worked to make outsiders of men; and how the absence of fathers during World War II reinstated them to the center of family life. Illuminating the complex connections among fatherhood, masculine identity, patriarchy, and American culture over time, this book ends decades of remarkable neglect of a vital subject.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

Fatherhood in America: a history

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Griswold ( Family and Divorce in California, 1850-1890 , SUNY Pr., 1983) limits his study of fatherhood to the lower 48 states, from 1880 to 1992, among middle-income and poor European Americans and ... Read full review


Fatherhood Immigration and American Culture
Fatherhood and the Reorganization of Men s Lives
i Patriarchy and the Politics of Fatherhood 19701993

2 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

Fathers and Divorce
Terry Arendell
No preview available - 1995
All Book Search results »

Bibliographic information