By Rhonda Johnson
Updated March 17, 2020 at 02:54 AM EDT
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A History of the Wife

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Yalom (A History of the Breast) traces a slow, steady historical march toward marital equality in this exhaustive study beginning with ancient Greek and Roman wives and ending with today’s married women. Historical portraits of women who managed to break marital molds enliven early chapters, but Yalom’s rehashed statistics about contemporary wives will be a yawn to anyone who’s read Cosmo in the last 20 years. And while the author — herself a wife for 46 years — raises intriguing questions about same-sex marriages (does every partnership require a functional ”wife”?), she fails to elucidate today’s more shaded definitions of the role. B

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A History of the Wife

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