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Richard A. Settersten Jr, Frank F. Furstenberg Jr, and Rúben G. Rumbaut (eds), On the Frontier of Adulthood. Theory, Research, and Public Policy : The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2005, xvi + 591 pp

Authors
Journal
European Journal of Population / Revue européenne de Démographie
0168-6577
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Volume
23
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10680-006-9107-1
Keywords
  • Book Review
Disciplines
  • Education

Abstract

On the Frontier of Adulthood is a collection of papers that chart the changes in the lives of American men and women roughly between the ages of 18 and 34. It brings together the work of a large number of renowned scholars in a huge volume (16 chapters, spanning more than 550 pages), producing, as the editors state, ‘arguably the most thorough description of this period to date’. A central aim of the volume is to ‘gain a more coherent and complete under- standing of this period by focusing on the interplay of multiple transitions across multiple life domains (such as education, work, family, and leisure)’. The book is made up of four parts. After an introduction by the editors, five chapters focus on the transition to adulthood in a comparative perspective, either by comparing the transition experiences of different US cohorts or by comparing the experience of US cohorts with those of cohorts in other countries. Part Three consists of eight chapters that study the transition to adulthood among recent US cohorts and focus on the roles played by insti- tutions and family in launching children into adulthood, on racial and ethnic differences in the way this passage is made and on the consequences of dif- ferent pathways into adulthood. The final part consists of two chapters that discuss policy issues related to the transition to adulthood. I agree with the editors that this volume indeed gives the most thorough description of this period to date, with one big qualification: as far as the US is concerned. In fact, the amount of descriptive information is so overwhelming and diverse, that it is not easy to draw conclusions about how the frontier is changing. It would have been helpful to have a concluding chapter trying to synthesize the results of the empirical chapters. My own synthesis is that young adulthood in the US has become less standardized, and that many young adults (in particular blacks and members of other minorities) are facing A. C. Liefbroer (&) Netherlands Interdisciplinary

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