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February 5, 1927

A Short History of Marriage.

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By Edward Westermarck, Ph.D., Hon. LL.D., Martin White Professor of Sociology in the University of London. Cloth. Price, $3.50. Pp. 327. New York: Macmillan Company, 1926.

JAMA. 1927;88(6):429. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02680320065043

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Abstract

The fifth edition of the well known "History of Human Marriage" by Edward Westermarck is a complete study of marriage as it exists among all people. However, ordinary readers are not likely to read that work since it is planned primarily for study by those especially interested in ethnology. For this reason, Professor Westermarck has prepared a brief text based on the larger work and with a general discussion not otherwise available. After discussing the origin of marriage and customs among various groups, he describes in a most interesting manner the rituals and forms used in different communities, then multiple marriage, and concludes with a chapter on the duration of marriage and the right to dissolve it. The volume is exceptional in its scientific presentation of facts, without regard to moral prejudices. The author does not hesitate, however, to draw conclusions, as, for example, his belief that divorce is not

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