What does the "tradition of marriage" really look like? In A History of Marriage, Elizabeth Abbott paints an often surprising picture of this most public, yet most intimate, institution. Ritual of romance, or social obligation? Eternal bliss, or cult of domesticity? Abbott reveals a complex tradition that includes same-sex unions, arranged marriages, dowries, self-marriages, and child brides. Marriage—in all its loving, unloving, decadent, and impoverished manifestations—is revealed here through Abbott's infectious curiosity.
"Elizabeth Abbott has penned a masterpiece...a wide-ranging account of how the social intersects with many forms of the personal."—Ahmad Saidullah, author of Happiness and Other Disorders
"Deftly shows how this always fragile, yet always resilient institution has evolved. It's not always a pretty picture but it's a fascinating one."—Judith Timson, author of Family Matters
"No thoughtful person—married, celibate, unfaithful or otherwise—should be without this book."—Mark Kingwell, author of The World We Want
"This book is like taking a centuries-long, world-wide trip down a petal-strewn aisle, and I loved it. If you enjoy a good wedding, are first in line to dance The Hora, or you've divorced yourself from boring reads, then find A History of Marriage."—Long Island Pulse
"[A History of Marriage] weaves stories and facts in a kind of loosely fluid narrative that makes pleasant reading. The author has a flair for sweetening the facts with her palatable style."—Kirkus