Why this book?
My childhood has shaped who I am and my research interests. Children have been viewed as many things across American History, from sinful creatures to a productive workforce, from coddled innocents to drivers of consumption. This book traces the adventurous, hazardous, and sometimes perilous transition from childhood to adulthood, in all its many forms, through the development of the American experiment. I like to see how broader trends impact how we think of and raise children.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
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…