“This is a story about the idea of marriage in the West: why it came about, what it was supposed to accomplish, who was behind it, and how was it implanted into the minds of the many - where it remains, whether the many are conscious of it or not.” This quote, from the opening A Note to the Reader, sums up the contents of the book. This book is about the history of marriage in the West starting from primal nomadic cultures to the Reformation. It is about how marriage comes to be and how it has changed with cultural upheavals and shifts in religion. It is about the gender roles and the reasoning behind the superiority of man and the inferiority of the woman. It is about adultery, courtly love, polygamy and the beginnings of the witch-hunts. Overall, it is about why marriage happens and how it changed from a means of reproduction to lust control and finally, love.Instead of a dry, academic voice found way too often in non-fiction (in my opinion), Susan Squire’s writing style is charming, engaging and witty. Her banter about the battle of the sexes is humorous, sometimes even laugh out loud. Using sharp wit, she take stabs at religion. I especially enjoyed the jabs at the ideal wife. “He presents her as a real person in real time, a player on the stage of real life - and also a fantasy, a flawless jewel, the quintessence of the perfect wife. The one belies the other - either she’s real or she’s perfect; she can’t be both.”Even her chapter titles are plain amusing. For example, “Paradise Lost, Just Because He Listened to His Wife”, “What a Man Wants”, “Be Fertile and Increase - the Sequel”. Definitely a book I love and will recommend. Informative and Entertaining.