Containing interviews with more than 100 middle-class working parents in the Boston area, Bookman vividly illustrates the inherent conflicts faced by today's two-working-parent families and the often unfortunate consequences for the community. In an important departure from the ongoing debate, she offers a new paradigm for the relationship between paid and unpaid work that could invigorate both family life and the quality of civil society.
"As Ann Bookman eloquently tells us, the struggle isn't just to accommodate our work and our families; it's also to be active citizens in our communities. How successfully we manage all three will determine the shape of our nation and the future of our children. This is a deeply thoughtful and perfectly timed addition to one of the most important discussions of our time." -- Robert B. Reich, Professor of Social and Economic Policy, Brandeis University, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and author of The Future of Success
"Starting In Our Own Backyards paints a beautifully realistic portrait of the busy work and home lives of today's middle and moderate income two-wage-earner and single-parent families. At the same time, the book can be read as a graphic sociological analysis of contemporary urban and suburban communities and workplaces." -- Herbert J. Gans, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University and author of Democracy and the News
"With insight and clarity, Bookman portrays the lives of working Americans as they strive to combine work, parenthood, and contributions to their communities. She adds considerations of community to the work-family debate and brings the realities of work and family to the ongoing debates about U.S. civil society. This book is a must-read for participants in both discussions." -- Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, Harvard University, and author of Diminished Democracy
"A very welcome addition to the research on working families. By offering a new definition of community and by illustrating how essential communities are to surviving and thriving, Bookman has moved the field of work and family life forward." -- Ellen Galinsky, President, Families and Work Institute, and co-author of Ask the Children
"The stories of the people here are both unique and universal. This book is a must read for scholars and citizens concerned with working families, with civic engagement, and with the challenges of contemporary living." -- Phyllis Moen, McKnight Presidential Chair in Sociology, University of Minnesota and author of It's about Time
"Ann Book tackles the intransigent problems of middle class working families from a new perspective-that of the community. Starting in Our Own Backyards is an insightful study and a fresh look at an old problem." -- Louise Lamphere, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, and co-editor of Situated Lives