Homeward Bound: American Families Book Review

Pages: 6 (2003 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Family and Marriage

Today's world, where all people have been liberated to have their say, to protest what they consider to be wrong with politics in the world, and to marry who and when they want, is far more interesting to me than the "happy, stable" families of the 1950s can ever be.

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To inform her work, the author drew on several wide-ranging source types. Evidence from popular culture, for examplee, included moviees, mass-circulation periodicals, and newspapers. She also examined professional writings from various disciplines, as well as papers and statements by public policymakers and other public figures involved in driving the political and social views of the time. Of particular interest is her use of the Kelly Longitudinal Study (KLS), which included surveys of some 600 middle-class men and women who married during th 1930s. The study was conducted over almost three decades, with the scholar sending questionnaires to the 300 couples identified for study every few years. The insights provided by these studies provided valuable insight to May in terms of the general views and experiences within middle-class white homes at the time. I am not sure that a study so clearly focused on a particular ethnic group could truly provide insight into the entire social situation of the time. Several times in her book, May makes references to other ethnic groups and classes and their drives towards domestic bliss. Perhaps the book might have been better focused only on the white middle classes, and informed by the Kelly study. On the other hand, greater balance and more comparatively significant information might have been obtained had the author paid greater attention to the experiences of different ethnic groups. If a middle-class white woman was unhappy in the household that it was her task to manage, what sorts of oppression did an African-American woman suffer in her household?

Book Review on Homeward Bound: American Families in Assignment

Although the book makes many interesting points about the social and domestic history of the time, I am left with many questions, which I think May migh have paid more attention to.

On the other hand, May's purpose was well served. Her use of sources was thorough, wih frequent references to the many end notes she includes. Her tables and graphs are informative, while photographs and pictures offer a good supplement to her narrative. Her writing style is accessible and entertaining. I believe the type of reader who would most benefit from this book is a person with at least a high school education and in the process of pursuing tertiary study. I am not sure that the book would be of great interest to lay people, although a specific interest in the subject area may lead to buying the book for entertainment purposes. In general, I would not buy this book for entertainment, but it does provide a very interesting study of an interesting time in American history.

In conclusion, I enjoyed reading the book. As mentioned, it provided me with good insight into the time period being described while also offering insight… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Homeward Bound: American Families."  Essaytown.com.  September 18, 2013.  Accessed May 30, 2020.