Huck's Raft A History of American Childhood

ISBN-10: 0674019989
ISBN-13: 9780674019980
Edition: 2004
Authors: Steven Mintz
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Description: Like Huck's raft, the experience of American childhood has been both adventurous and terrifying. For more than three centuries, adults have agonized over raising children while children have followed their own paths to development and expression.  More...

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Book details

List price: $26.50
Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 4/30/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 464
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.738
Language: English

Like Huck's raft, the experience of American childhood has been both adventurous and terrifying. For more than three centuries, adults have agonized over raising children while children have followed their own paths to development and expression. Now, Steven Mintz gives us the first comprehensive history of American childhood encompassing both the child's and the adult's tumultuous early years of life. Underscoring diversity through time and across regions, Mintz traces the transformation of children from the sinful creatures perceived by Puritans to the productive workers of nineteenth-century farms and factories, from the cosseted cherubs of the Victorian era to the confident consumers of our own. He explores their role in revolutionary upheaval, westward expansion, industrial growth, wartime mobilization, and the modern welfare state. Revealing the harsh realities of children's lives through history--the rigors of physical labor, the fear of chronic ailments, the heartbreak of premature death--he also acknowledges the freedom children once possessed to discover their world as well as themselves. Whether at work or play, at home or school, the transition from childhood to adulthood has required generations of Americans to tackle tremendously difficult challenges. Today, adults impose ever-increasing demands on the young for self-discipline, cognitive development, and academic achievement, even as the influence of the mass media and consumer culture has grown. With a nod to the past, Mintz revisits an alternative to the goal-driven realities of contemporary childhood. An odyssey of psychological self-discovery and growth, this book suggests a vision of childhood that embraces risk and freedom--like the daring adventure on Huck's raft.

Steven Mintz is Executive Director of the Institute for Transformational Learning at the University of Texas.

Preface
Prologue
Children of the Covenant
Red, White, and Black in Colonial America
Sons and Daughters of Liberty
Inventing the Middle-Class Child
Growing Up in Bondage
Childhood Battles of the Civil War
Laboring Children
Save the Child
Children under the Magnifying Glass
New to the Promised Land
Revolt of Modern Youth
Coming of Age in the Great Depression
Mobilizing Children for World War II
In Pursuit of the Perfect Childhood
Youthquake
Parental Panics and the Reshaping of Childhood
The Unfinished Century of the Child
Notes
Index

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