In How to Be Childless: A History and Philosophy of Life Without Children, Rachel Chrastil explores the long and fascinating history of childlessness, putting this often-overlooked legacy in conversation with the issues that childless women and men face in the twenty-first century. Eschewing two dominant narratives, that the childless are either barren and alone, or that they are carefree and selfish, How to Be Childless instead argues that the lives of childless individuals from the past can help all of us expand our range of possibilities for the good life. In uncovering the voices and experiences of childless women from the past five hundred years, Chrastil demonstrates that the pathways to childlessness, so often simplified as choice and circumstance, are far more complex and interweaving. Balanced, deeply researched, and richly realized, How to be Childless will empower readers, parents, and childless alike, to navigate their lives with purpose.
How to Be Childless is wonderfully engaging and thoughtful. Chrastil takes on the most talked-about aspects of life without children, as well as the most profound issues, and offers something new and important each time. The book is an intellectual treat. * Bella DePaulo, author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After * This masterful book will engage, fascinate, and challenge readers whether they are childful or childless. To understand childlessness, Chrastil takes the reader through a deeper underlying analysis of human flourishing. She uses this concept as the instrument for assessing the choice to have children, examining essential questions, such as what does it mean to live a good life and to be a good citizen? * Michael D. Bess, Chancellor's Professor of History, Vanderbilt University *