Inside the Castle: Law and Family in 20th Century America, by Joanna L. Grossman and Lawrence M. Friedman, is an entertaining and occasionally frustrating history. In the book’s introduction, the authors offer two big ideas. Their first idea promotes the instrumental explanation of law, and the second idea is the rise in the last part of the twentieth century of what the authors call “individualized marriage.”
Both these ideas have been long promoted by Lawrence M. Friedman, one of the nation’s foremost legal historians, and in many respects, the evidence adduced by the authors confirms both big ideas. Grossman and Friedman are persuasive that the law has followed culture in the many varieties of marriage-like relationships.
Inside the Castle alights on issues large and small, discussing cases, statutes, and other material from a large number of states. It provides a wide-ranging synthesis of the dramatic changes in family law during the past century. Though the authors’ case that their two big ideas are proven by the historical events they record is occasionally weak, they nonetheless take the reader on an enlightening journey.
Michael S. Ariens, Inside the Castle: Law and Family in 20th Century America, by Joanna L. Grossman and Lawrence M. Friedman (book review), 60 Fed. Law. 83 (2013).