Family and Civilization - Intercollegiate Studies Institute

Family and Civilization

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“A chillingly prophetic volume that deserves a wide new audience.”

In his magnum opus, the distinguished sociologist Carle Zimmerman reveals the roots of today’s broken families and social epidemics.

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Family and Civilization is the magnum opus of Carle Zimmerman, a distinguished sociologist who taught for many years at Harvard University. In this unjustly forgotten work Zimmerman demonstrates the close and causal connections between the rise and fall of different types of families and the rise and fall of civilizations, particularly ancient Greece and Rome, medieval and modern Europe, and the United States. Zimmerman traces the evolution of family structure from tribes and clans to extended and large nuclear families to the small nuclear families and broken families of today. And he shows the consequences of each structure for the bearing and rearing of children; for religion, law, and everyday life; and for the fate of civilization itself.

Originally published in 1947, this compelling analysis predicted many of today’s cultural and social controversies and trends, including youth violence and depression, abortion and homosexuality, the demographic collapse of Europe and of the West more generally, and the displacement of peoples. This new edition, part of ISI Books’ Background series, has been edited and abridged by cultural commentator James Kurth of Swarthmore College and includes essays on the text by Kurth, Allan Carlson, and Bryce Christensen.

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“Why should we read Dr. Zimmerman today? For one thing, the future isn’t fated. We might learn from history and make choices that avert the calamities that overtook Greece and Rome.” —Rod Dreher

“This distinguished book is full of discouraging words about recurring historical trends that destroy domestic families—no matter their country, class, or creed. Sunnier souls might discount the impact of increasing numbers of atomistic families around us, but optimists and pessimists alike will be shaken by the scholarly projections in this account.” —New Oxford Review

“[Family and Civilization] becomes more relevant with each passing day. The book was amazingly prescient when it was first published, and, like all genuinely relevant and prescient works, its insights into the future derived from a profound comprehension of the past. The republication of one of the twentieth century’s most important social scientific works is an event to be celebrated.” —Brad Lowell Stone, professor of sociology, Oglethorpe University

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