At the turn of the century, most women gave birth in their own homes, often attended only by a midwife or some friends and relatives; as they reached the end of life most people died in the same home they were born in, surrounded by family. Today, vast numbers of people begin and end life in the sterilized, institutional world of hospitals and nursing homes, dying far from where they were born, their families broken by divorce, their lives extended by modern medicine. In no other century have technological and social changes altered private life so dramatically.
In a lavishly illustrated, insightfully written account, The Family uncovers the intimate details of private life behind the sweeping events of the twentieth century. Ranging well beyond the Western world, this volume covers the globe, illuminating the living conditions and experiences of families in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as well as in the formerly socialist countries of the Soviet bloc. The Family also includes explorations of the changing patterns of family life, such as relations between the sexes and attitudes toward children and the old; the nature of work (both in the home and for a wage); and broader questions of social organization and conflict. This volume, edited by John Harriss and consultant editor Charles Webster (Oxford), addresses these issues and more, showing the influence of industrialization, religion, war, migration, education, and advances in medicine on the daily realities of private life. And throughout, scores of informatively captioned photographs and detailed capsule biographies bring the images and personalities of the century to life.
Behind the march of armies, the changing tides of national borders, and the boom and bust of economics lies the changing face of private experience, the small but concrete details of family, community, and work. From the effects of urbanization in Japan and Turkey to the new blueprints for society suggested by the Russian revolution, this volume shows how particular cultures have responded to the demands of the modern age, offering a new perspective on the dramatic changes of our times.show more