By Joanna L. Grossman, a law professor at Hofstra University, and Lawrence M. Friedman, a law professor at Stanford University and professor by courtesy in the school’s departments of history and political science.
Family law does not always make the headlines. Still, hardly anything is as important to people in our society as family life; we all have families, and we all need families. And family law is the legal framework that governs (or tries to govern) family life.
Public attention to family law tends to center on a few controversial flashpoints. Same-sex marriage has been a hot subject for state legislatures and Congress, political candidates at every level, lawyers and judges in courtrooms, at the polls, and in every form of media imaginable. But at the same time, hugely important developments in the American family and the law that governs them have gone largely unnoticed.
Inside the Castle: Law and the Family in 20th Century America deals with the development of family law in the United States in the 20th century. But it is not a history of legal doctrine. It is a book about the ways in which family law has reacted to changes in the larger society.
The 20th century was a century of tumultuous change in society; and what was happening in the big world transformed family life and therefore family law in fundamental ways.