The Skimmer

Book Review: The Marriage-Go-Round by Andrew J. Cherlin

Rick Day / Contour / Getty

The Marriage-Go-Round By Andrew J. Cherlin Knopf; 271 pages

Why do we have so many romantic partners? Thanks to multiple marriages and divorces, cohabitation, stepfamilies and various other couple combinations, America experiences "more turbulence in our family lives, more changes of partners and parents, than any other nation." So says Johns Hopkins University professor of public policy Cherlin, whose new study of the U.S. marriage landscape blames two contradictory yet dominant cultural ideals for our matrimonial meanderings. On one side is marriage itself, which holds a sacred place in American life. On the other is a "kind of individualism that emphasizes...

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