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Urban Tribes: A Generation Redefines Friendship, Family, and Commitmentby Ethan Watters
Synopses & Reviews
The numbers can't be ignored: the current generation of young Americans is delaying marriage longer than any other generation in history. But while the media trumpets this fact in a way that seems designed to scare us, until now no one has really taken the time to understand what people are doing instead.
Driven by his personal desire to understand why his single life stretched far into his thirties, Ethan Watters explores the cultural and social forces that have steered his generation away from the altar — and discovers many reasons to be optimistic about the course his generation has chosen. Central to his thinking is the idea of Urban Tribes: the closely knit communities of friends that spring up during the ever-increasing period of time between college and married life. Tribes are revealed to be the key to understanding this generation, explaining not only why its members are putting off marriage, but also why singles often live outside of families so happily. In the end, Watters makes the case that the tribe years engender the self-respect critical to successful partnerships.
A funny, deeply insightful, and compulsively readable book that dares to suggest that the generation in question just might be interested in more than buying the latest SUV and drinking lattes at the local coffeehouse, Urban Tribes is destined to become one of the most talked-about books of the year.
"Watters's breezy writing and sunny optimism are refreshing, and his evocation of the good times of San Francisco's dot-com boom years has period charm to burn." Publishers Weekly
"Playful without being ironic and meaningful without being sappy, Urban Tribes will be a seminal book. In a decade, we will look back and realize that this book changed how we look at the period during which young adults live between families." Po Bronson, New York Times bestselling author of What Should I Do With My Life?
As Watters makes clear, urban tribes include thousands of media-savvy young people who devour books that reflect their lives--"Generation X" and "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius." His book is appealing in that it offers a positive new perspective on this demographic.
In his early thirties, Ethan Watters began to realize that none of his friends were following the paths of their parents. Instead of settling down in couples and starting families, they lived and vacationed in groups, worked together at businesses they'd started, and met every week for dinner. As he started to document this phenomenon, he encountered countless other "tribes," in cities all over the U.S. Watters explores why tribe members have embraced this structure and what kind of affection and stability they find there, and contends that the conventional wisdom painting Generation X as isolated, selfish slackers may hide an unexpected, much warmer picture.
About the Author
Ethan Watters is a journalist who has written about social trends for publications from Glamour to the New York Times Magazine. Recently married, he lives with his wife in San Francisco, where he helped found the San Francisco Writers' Grotto.
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