DIANE VAUGHAN is professor of sociology and international and public affairs at Columbia University. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the author of Controlling Unlawful Organizational Behavior: Social Structure and Corporate Misconduct, Uncoupling: Turning Points in Intimate Relationships, and The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture, and Deviance at NASA, as well as numerous articles in a variety of academic publications.
Vaughan's examination of the breakup of relationships from a sociological and psychological perspective identifies the key steps in uncoupling from both partners' points of view. This schema is supported by 103 in-depth interviews and solid documentation from the professional literature. Useful to professionals, this work is also invaluable to lay people both because it normalizes a universal experience often seen as idiosyn cratic and because it will help those in the early stages of uncoupling to identify what is happening, enabling them to take the steps necessary to avoid the ultimate breakdown. Given the current divorce rate of approximately 40 percent, Uncoupling will have a wide readership and is recommended for general collections. John M. Haynes, Mediation Associates, N.Y.