It will be hard to do justice to the virtues of this excellent book—its comprehensiveness, helpful novelties, surprising insights, humor without indignation, philosophy, common sense, and its importance today—but I will give it a try.

Scott Yenor, a professor of political philosophy at Boise State University, comes to this policy study from earlier books on David Hume (David Hume’s Humanity, 2016) and on the idea of marriage in modern political thought (Family Politics, 2011). In The Recovery of Family Life he uses Plato, Aristotle, Montesquieu, Sophocles, and Leo Tolstoy, among others, to explain what he means. Though practical, his book is rooted in theory because, as he argues, family life today is threatened by what might seem a theoretical proposition, one that very few of its partisans would avow or perhaps even recognize: that humanity will not be perfected until marriage and the family have been abolished.


This idea will be familiar to readers of Plato’s Republic, in which it’s presented as a logical consequence of justice rather than a program for action. But in the two feminist thinkers Yenor cites, Simone de Beauvoir (The Second Sex, 1949) and the lesser-known American Shulamith Firestone (The Dialectic of Sex, 1970), it is the fundamental goal of a

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