What Is Marriage For?: The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution

~by E. J. Graff

The social history of marriage has indeed been strange, and it is incredibly interesting as well. E. J. Graff explores the purpose of and the reasons for marriage in Europe and North America from the ancient to the modern, all the while making a strong case for the inclusion, and legality, of same-sex marriage partnerships. The book is divided into six sections, each focusing on a particular aspect of marriage: Money, Sex, Babies, Kin, Order, and Heart. Understandably, some of the sections have overlapping themes, but each presents different information in an extremely readable (and at times sarcastic) fashion. What Is Marriage For? seems to be very well researched and includes an extensive bibliography. However, the endnotes were difficult to match up with the text. Overall, Graff has written a well thought-out book and has defended same-sex marriage using the social history of marriage as the background and basis for her argument.

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