The role of wife is the most desired status for millions of women across America. But isn’t it time to take a good look at what the role of wife entails? Women’s relationship expert, Susan Shapiro Barash says that over 80 percent of women whether divorced, widowed, or never married; old, young, or in mid-life, claim that being a wife is their goal. In Barash’s book, The New Wife: The Evolving Role of the American Wife, she delves into an exploration of the modern wife through the decades, from the 1950s to today’s 21st century wife. Barash uncovers the reasons why women yearn to be wives, and their disappointments, pretenses, and steadfast resolve in the role. Her unique study brings insight into the myriad ways women work at being successful wives in our complex world. An eye-opening study of wives of all ages, The New Wife: The Evolving Role of the American Wife reveals how deeply a womans identity is vested in her marriage. Marriage is still a powerful and alluring concept for women yet today, much like its siren call to their mothers, aunts, and grandmothers in decades past. Barash’s meticulous yet personal summations of five decades of wifing include:
- The Fifties Wife: Kitchens and Carpools – Wives relegated to the home and raising children.
- The Sixties Wife: Hell Unleashed – How the womens movement and the sexual revolution changed the status quo.
- The Seventies Wife: Blazers as Armor – Wives marched in droves to the workplace, ready to sustain marriages and careers.
- The Eighties Wife: Flavors of Power – Even as the true believers climbed the corporate ladder, the second shift kicked in.
- The Nineties Wife: Desperation and Isolation Worlds apart as stay-at-home moms or working mothers but like-minded in another respect, across-the-board extramarital affairs explode.
- The 21st Century Wife – Confident in her choice, whether working or notbearing children or not.
- The Enlightened Wife – Each decade of the last half-century has contributed to shaping todays wife, with her accumulated knowledge and experience.
- Generations X and Y – Todays young and future wives exude a confidence never before imagined.
In this breakthrough book interspersed with personal stories of women of all ethnicity, age, and social strata, Barash graphically illuminates the shadowy world of the wife: her dreams, her realities, her progress.
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“The book comes to life with the voices of many candid women and ends all too soon. Recommended.”
— Library Journal
“Here comes Susan Shapiro Barash, again, the immensely readable, knowledgeable chronicler of family relationships—this time with strong, new views of the American wife through the decades. If you’re a wife, it will be an irresistible temptation to look yourself up and see how you compare to the other wives of your decade…and boy, is this writer on target. This is a serious and careful study and yet, the excellent interviews lend The New Wife a deep intimacy. It’s fascinating to see how ‘plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose’. Understanding the past helps breathes vibrancy into new marriage. I’ll dip into this book and probably steal from it, for a long time.”
— Sherry Suib Cohen, Author of Secrets of a Very Good Marriage, Contributing Writer to Lifetime Magazine
“We all know that the days when a wife met her husband at 5:30 with a martini and home-cooked four-course meal are a thing of the past. But do we know what it means to be a wife today, and how we got here? In this fascinating book, Susan Shapiro Barash charts the conflicting expectations of marriage and wifedom over the last half-century. She weaves the poignant voices of wives across the generations with her own trenchant observations. Barash shows how far wives—and husbands—have come.”
— Leora Tanenbaum, Author of Catfight: Rivalries Among Women—From Diets to Dating, From the Boardroom to the Delivery Room
“A compelling analysis of wives and how important they really are. All of my wives, past and future, should profit from this book immensely.”
— Lewis Burke Frumkes, Author of How to Raise Your IQ by Eating Gifted Children
“Susan Shapiro Barash has noticed the trend of the ever-changing American wife and discusses it in her book, The New Wife: The Evolving Role of the American Wife, an exploration of dating and marriage trends, from the doting young housewife of post-World War II to today’s career woman….. At first glance, the book seems academic, the sort of reading that might be aimed at a women’s studies class. But Barash puts a human face on her profile of the American wife by relying heavily on first hand accounts of women.These narrations give “The New Wife” a wonderful voice where it could have otherwise been just another dry work of feminist research.”
— Associated Press
“The author has approached this fascinating subject with great authority. Her research is exemplary, the masterful writing brings easy comprehension to a historic perspective. The American Wife of the 21st century is a new breed of woman and Susan Barash gives us extraordinary insight into the many facets of her personality.”
— Louise Kerz Hirschfeld, Theatre Historian, TONY Award Nominator, Television Research Consultant
“Susan Shapiro Barash writes about the evolving role of the American wife with a scholar’s passion, sociologist’s curiosity and writer’s grace that have enlightened readers of her previous studies of relationships. The New Wife is a service to husbands as well as wives and the children they share.”
— Sidney Offit, Author of Memoir of the Bookie’s Son