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Description: View the Table of Contents Read the Introduction Hear the author interview on NPR's Morning Edition At a time when childrens play seems under siege, Howard Chudacoffs history--the first of its kind--arrives to tell us what we are letting slip away. . . . His history demonstrates that the topic of play is anything but trivial. And by showing us where weve been, he can help us decide where, as a culture, we want to go. --Wilson Quarterly A fascinating and provocative survey. . . . Chudacoff builds up a scathing critique of modern parents intrusion in childrens play. --New York Times Book Review In this wonderfully polished, scholarly treatment of children and play from Colonial times to the present, Chudacoff uses excellent historical methodology and perceptive psychological insights, putting primary sources to good use, as he presents an illustrated, chronological history of children at play from ages six to 12. --Library Journal (starred review) In tracing the history of play over the American centuries, Chudacoff makes the mid-seventeenth century sound like our own time, only better. --Slate.com [Chudacoffs] history demonstrates that the topic of play is anything but trivial. And by showing us where weve been, he can help us decide where, as a culture, we want to go. --The Wilson Quarterly The tension between how children spend their free time and how adults want them to spend it runs through Chudacoffs book like a yellow line smack down the middle of a highway. His critique is increasingly echoed today by parents, educators and childrens advocates who warn that organized activities, overscheduling and excessive amounts of homework are crowding out free time and constricting childrens imaginations and social skills. --The New York Times Children at Play is a strong addition to the growing literature on childhood, but its also good reading for adults seeking a fresh perspective on their own kids. --American Heritage Chudacoffs work gives historical depth to debates that continue to rage over what constitutes appropriate childs play. --Publishers Weekly "Shrewd, balanced, witty, and important. Chudacoff has written a sweeping history that encompasses boys and girls, black children and white, rich and poor, children on farms and in cities. He shows how children play alone and with each other, and how they use their imaginations to create a world apart from their parents. This is historical synthesis at its finest, and instantly becomes an essential text in this new and dynamic area of inquiry." --Paula S. Fass, author of Children of a New World: Society, Culture, and Globalization Children at Play is a brilliant, richly researched study that foregrounds childrens voices, offering a message that could not be more timely or profound: That the history of childrens play consists of an ongoing struggle between adults who seek to improve and safeguard the young, and kids themselves, who have sought to create worlds of play that are truly their own. --Steven Mintz, author of Hucks Raft: A History of American Childhood "In this beautifully written book, Howard Chudacoff lets us peer into the diverse playworlds of America's children across time and place. Informed by deep historical research and balanced with the best sociological and psychological theory, Chudacoff shows us how children (often in spite of adults) used play to express their freedom and themselves."