Written By: Barbara Dafoe Whitehead
When Barbara Dafoe Whitehead published her article "Dan Quayle Was Right" in the April 1993 issue of the Atlantic Monthly, she caught many pundits, polemicists, and readers on their heels. Her argument provided a bracing wake-up call from the largely complacent attitude held toward the effects of divorce and single-parent families on the lives of children. Through thorough statistics, Whitehead demonstrated the real cost of divorce in terms of the diminished lives of America's children. That original argument is expanded to book length in The Divorce Culture. Her book is a recapitulation of her original (and important) case that the state of families ought to be of vital concern to all of us. Now, however, her fresh approach is hardened into a more partisan temper, and her book provides little beyond moralism to chart a course for improvement. If Whitehead's point is that a moral reform is the only means of saving the family, then she at least owes a bit more sweat over the shape that that movement for moral reform ought to take, as well as some analysis of its likelihood of success. After all, if her diagnosis is correct, her prescription is of the greatest importance.
Purchase: The Divorce Culture: Rethinking Our Commitments to Marriage and Family