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.
What They're Saying...
"Dr. Zimmerman disdained his academic colleagues, who in his view denied history because the facts led them to conclusions they didn't want to accept. James Kurth, the distinguished Swarhtmore political scientist who edited the new version of Family and Civilization, says that book's publication made one of the nation's premire sociologist a politically incorrect nonperson overnight. 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, Dallas Morning News
"Zimmerman hoped that the identification of historic family trends through scholarship and teaching would protect and expand domestic families. But the book's new edition includes essays by Bryce Christensen and James Kurth that dim such hope.
This distinguished book is full of discouraging words about recurring historical trends that destroy domestic families &%8212; no mater 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."— Mary McWay Seaman New Oxford Review