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The Broken Hearth: Reversing the Moral Collapse of the American Family

by William J. Bennett

Doubleday & Company, Inc.

208, January

Hardcover, 22.95

ISBN: 0385499159

Today the American family is under siege as never before. From the dramatic rise in illegitimacy, divorce, cohabitation, and single parenthood to the call for recognition of gay marriages, the traditional nuclear family is being radically challenged and undermined, along with the moral and legal consensus that once supported it.

Many think it doesn’t matter whether we preserve the nuclear family. Some even argue that its dissolution is a good thing—a liberation from repressive patriarchal authority. William J. Bennett maintains that, to the contrary, the dissolution of the American family is the fundamental crisis of our time. Now, in a book as provocative and controversial as his bestselling The Death of Outrage, Bennett presents a timely and much-needed defense of the traditional family.

Combining fearless conviction with acute insight and respect for his adversaries, Bennett offers thorough, balanced, and enlightening discussions of single parenthood, cohabitation, gay marriage, and other trends that are undercutting the ideal of the nuclear family as the essential foundation of society. Arguing that our recent economic prosperity has masked the devastating effects of this unprecedented social experimentation, Bennett traces the effects of these trends and weighs their impact on the present and future health of our society.

Americans like to think they are free to reinvent every aspect of family life without social or personal consequences. Yet, far from being strictly a matter of private choice, the integrity of families is, Bennett shows, a strong and legitimate interest of society at large. And, he argues, the monogamous nuclear family is not a repressive patriarchal institution, but quite the opposite: a precious and hard-won historical achievement, one that safeguards the interests of men, women, and children as no other arrangement yet devised.

Rising above the jeremiads characteristic of so much contemporary public debate, The Broken Hearth provides a powerful affirmation of family life and the matchless benefits it bestows on individuals and society as a whole.

    Table of Contents

  1. The State of Marriage and the Family
  2. The Family in History
  3. Cohabitation, Illegitimacy, Fatherlessness
  4. Homosexual Unions
  5. Divorce
  6. A Few Home Truths
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