Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Publication Citation

6 Constitutional Commentary 131 (1989)


In this book, Professor Mary Ann Glendon contends that the American commitment to individualism and rights has deprived our law of compassion in the areas of abortion and divorce. She argues that while western European countries tell their citizens that their decisions about family are important to the larger society, American law takes extreme and damaging positions that isolate people at times when the community has an interest in their acts. Much of the book is a gentle and persuasive reminder that America lacks any semblance of a national family policy, an omission that looks heartless in comparison to Europe. But the solutions Professor Glendon embraces ignore many of the stories women have been telling about these issues that are centrally important in their lives. Her book, in effect, denies the complexities of women's lives in the same way that the larger legal culture does.