This book provides students with a systematic sociological study of contemporary life for families of African descent living in the United States. Because it deals with issues facing African American families, it covers ground that is often considered, such as marriage and fertility rates, non-marital births, age at first birth, etc., but the authors also deal with several issues slighted or ignored in texts about African American family life, including disproportionately high rates of incarceration, family violence, and chronic diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Also departing from previous books, the authors examine ways in which individual choice (e.g., choosing to use drugs, choosing to engage in unprotected sex, choosing to drop out of school) intersects with the larger societal factors and constraints. All these indices are woven together and cry out foráa new look at African American family situations that this book will provide. The authors hope to capture the complexities and nuances of a web of factors, thereby helping students explore both structural and individual explanations for problems facing many African American families today.