Cover image for Joined at the heart : the transformation of the American family
Joined at the heart : the transformation of the American family
Gore, Al, 1948-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : H. Holt, [2002]

Physical Description:
417 pages : portraits ; 25 cm
Added Author:
Electronic Access:
Publisher description
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ536 .G666 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Former Vice President and bestselling author Al Gore collaborates with his wife, Tipper, on a groundbreaking book about the changing face of the American family Al and Tipper Gore have long considered family their bedrock. They've also spent many years studying the American family, and now, in this provocative and personal book, they explore the myriad ways in which the idea of family is being redefined.Over the past two generations, cultural shifts and economic pressures have profoundly affected every family in the nation: balancing work and family now poses a bigger challenge than ever before, day-care and after-school child care programs are too often dangerously inadequate, and new technological advancements have dramatically changed the ways we communicate. But if many of the traditional landmarks by which families formerly steered their course have disappeared, change has also openedup exciting possibilities, yielding an explosion of new family forms and novel solutions to age-old problems.In this penetrating and moving exploration of the contemporary family landscape, the Gores share stories drawn from their own experiences, as well as introduce us to a dozen other families they have come to know over the years. Combining personal insight and expert opinions, historical and global perspectives, Joined at the Heart identifies an emerging reality-and demonstrates that, in the face of unprecedented change, the inherent need for family is stronger than ever.

Author Notes

Politician and businessman Al Gore was born on March 31, 1948. In 1969, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in government from Harvard College. He represented Tennessee in the House of Representatives from 1977-1985 and the Senate from 1985-1993. He was Vice-President of the United States from 1993-2001. He is currently the president of Current TV, chairman of Generation Investment Management, director on the board of Apple Inc., and senior advisor to Google Inc.

He lectures on the topic of global warming awareness and prevention and starred in the documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which won the 2007 Academy Award for Documentary Feature. He was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for their efforts to educate others about climate change and to find ways to counteract it.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Here's a book both interesting and odd. On the one hand, it is a semischolarly history of the American family and its evolution, punctuated by tales about American families in all their permutations. It's also very personal, filled with Gore family stories, which are both heartwarming and poignant: Al's game of Monster with the kids and Tipper's struggles as the child of a divorced mother who fought depression. Yet all of this material never really coalesces, and in many ways, seems like two different books, the anecdote-dotted sociological examination and the Gore family scrapbook. Another problem is the convoluted point of view. Jarringly, the third-person narrative, used when talking about the Gores, frequently lurches into first-person plural: "Al called the next morning and asked Tipper out. . . . We know it seems unbelievable but . . . our eyes met and everything else melted away." Along with the problem of confusing narration, the information conveyed really may be more than readers want to know. It's hard not to be cynical and wonder if this book is yet another attempt to reintroduce Al Gore to American voters. If so, he and his wife seem like nice enough people; they may want to rethink the writing gigs. Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

"For us, as for most Americans," write the former vice-president and his wife, "family is our bedrock, and we believe the strength of the American family is the nation's bedrock." But the American family has changed substantially in the last half century and so have the cultural and economic conditions under which it exists. The families the Gores have encountered in a decade of research reflect these changes: one couple has children from the husband's three different relationships, a gay white couple adopts two black children, a single mother struggles with poverty. The couple add stories from their own marriage and consult with historians, sociologists, psychologists and educators, giving the American family the same comprehensive treatment Al's Earth in the Balance gave the environment. Al and Tipper examine subjects as diverse as the increased divorce rate, the parent-teen gap, dual-income households and the health problems associated with sleep deprivation. They divide the book into themes, including love, communication, work, play and community, and show how these factors influence one another, taking a holistic approach to the underlying problems affecting today's families. Yet although they declare America should "provide every possible support to those most important to us," they make very few firm recommendations on government policy; those reading with an eye toward identifying planks in another Gore presidential campaign will have their work cut out for them. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov. 12) Forecast: A one-day laydown should heighten anticipation, and Gore boosters will undoubtedly snatch it up. Look for a review of the Gores' companion book, The Spirit of Family, in an upcoming issue of PW. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Coauthoring this very readable work, the Gores affirm their respect and support for culturally and structurally variant American families, loving individuals committed to each other's welfare. Based on personal experiences and interviews with others in traditional and nontraditional relationships, the authors offer a sampling of caring individuals struggling to balance family, work, play, and community to support one another, adults and children, together with the future of this country. The Gores relate these families' experiences to the environments in which they live, offering a critique of the social programs needed to support successful family life: affordable shelter, reliable and competent child care, pre- and post-school time supervised activities, employee family-leave provisions, well-run community facilities, and services for all age levels. They argue that it is increasingly critical to maintain and grow our country's various sources of "social capital," to understand and support families, the too often unacknowledged vital units of our American society. This convincing, multiresourced work is recommended for public and academic library purchase. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/02; also released this November is The Spirit of the Family, a photography book edited by the Gores.-Ed.]-Suzanne W. Wood, formerly with SUNY Coll. of Technology at Alfred (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



From Joined at the Heart: Not enough time. Not enough energy. Not enough sleep. Faced with too many competing demands, many families find they simply don't have enough hours in the day to give both work and family their absolute best. With record numbers of parents putting in stunningly long-and steadily increasing-hours at the workplace, the hard truth is that in America work and family are wildly out of balance. Work is important, but so is family. We want good jobs, good incomes, and a strong economy. But we also want strong families, good marriages, and the chance to be good parents to our children. We want a decent night's sleep and time with loved ones and friends. In short, we want well-rounded lives that are fulfilling both at work and with our families. The realization that there is no easy way to achieve this goal is beginning to sink in. To bring our lives back into balance, we must do more than decide how much we value our families: for most people, that's not difficult at all. The real challenge is measuring the relative values of work and family and then manifesting those values in our daily lives. Excerpted from Joined at the Heart: The Transformation of the American Family by Al Gore, Tipper Gore All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.