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Commuter Spouses: New Families in a Changing World
Cornell Univ. Mar. 2019. 198p. ISBN 9781501731181. pap. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781501731204. SOC SCI
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Lindemann (sociology, Lehigh Univ., PA) provides a thorough exploration of the causes and consequences of long-distance marital arrangements in a scholarly yet accessible and straightforward style. Drawing on extensive research into commuter marriages via structured interviews, the author brings into focus the reasons married couples choose to live separately, as well as the problems and surprising benefits of such situations. While individual couples have various reasons for deciding to live apart, most boil down to an attempt to accommodate dual careers. Although this is a particular problem among academics, Lindemann's subjects are not drawn solely from an academic pool. Sections on how spouses use technology to communicate, gendered differences in the experience of "single" living, and assessments of the overall happiness of commuter spouses attempt to create a full portrait of the risks and rewards of these arrangements. Lindemann carefully differentiates between the trends that are revealed through the interviews and the theories that might explain the trends, avoiding the "correlation equals causation" pitfall. As befits an academic work, there is a description of the author's methodology, notes, and extensive references.
VERDICT With few comparison works, this book will appeal to those interested in modern social trends and family dynamics.

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