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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars family life throughout the years
What parent hasn't given advice to their children, chastised them, encouraged them, consoled them? This has been done through the ages, and undoubtedly will continue for unknown time to come. Often it may be difficult to find the right words to express your thoughts or impress the young one, which is why it's both enlightening and fun to read what comments parents have...
Published on 18 Nov. 2009 by Gail Cooke

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars listen, repeat, understand...listen, repeat, understand....
I really didn't enjoy this as much as other reviewers or as much as I'd thought I would.

Firstly the introduction - five pages, was too much. It quoted many of the later quotes which the authour has picked as I guess her favourites out of a book of her favourite quotes.

Then throughout the book each and every quote is preceeded by an explination. I...
Published on 31 Jan. 2010 by Mad Saint Uden


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4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet gift book if a little twee, 18 Nov. 2010
By 
Beansmummy (Oxfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Love to the Little Ones: The Trials and Triumphs of Parents Through the Ages in Letters, Diaries, Memoirs and Essays (Hardcover)
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I found this book quite a mixed bag. Some parts were charming, others too mawkish. It made interesting reading in parts. I think it is probably ideally suited to a new mother, still revelling in the perfection of her offspring and delighted to read anything she can about other peoples parenting experiences.
Overall I did rather like it (thus the 4 stars), but it certainly counts as a gift-type book, one to dip in and out of, rather than anything else.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Everyday heroism of the family, 30 Oct. 2010
By 
Adam "Say something about yourself!" (Dunton, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Love to the Little Ones: The Trials and Triumphs of Parents Through the Ages in Letters, Diaries, Memoirs and Essays (Hardcover)
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This anthology is a collection of writing on the experience of parenting of largely British families, chosen with this focus because, as Louisa Lane Fox says in her introduction, the British seem to have a unique perspective on family life. And, any work of this type is bound to be largely influenced by the culture and background of the reader and selector of these pieces of writing.
The writings are largely letters and excerpts of letters, with some excerpts of memoirs and journal entries. They date from the 15th Century and are arranged chronologically. The anthology is arranged into sections dealing with pregnancy and birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and death.
The compiler states that her intention is to show the universality of the parenting experience through the ages, that there are startling differences which the anthology brings out, such as the greater past experience of infant mortality, but otherwise some differences are not as great as we may think. Fears about `letting go' of adolescents and adults, of the frustrations of expectations thwarted, of rebellions by children determined to make their own way, are all here. And in this the book does succeed in showing the constant themes of parenthood as well as the serious differences and outlooks of the different periods that can make us gasp.
It's a rich and varied read, with each piece of writing introduced by the briefest description of time and place and maybe a very short observation or comment by the compiler. There are monsters and extreme situations, such as abusive nannies, hostile and destructive parents (and sometimes children), but in the main the anthology rings out with the heroism of the everyday that parenting brings out, the sacrifices of parents and the binding mutual love of families.
Stand outs for me include Rachel Cusk describing the total overwhelming experience of an unsettled crying infant, and how it reduces her life to constant on her feet strategies for finding ways to bring the child peace, to the point where she realises that although seemingly meaningless, there is the realisation that "'all' that is required is for her to be there; an `all' that is of course everything, because being there involves not being anywhere else, being ready to drop everything."
Fergal Keane's wonderful "Letter to Daniel" is there with its determined tenderness by a man who has witnessed terrible cruelty and atrocity. The final section of the anthology, on the experience of the loss of children, stands out as the most intense and tightly edited section. If the anthology has a fault it is that through the previous sections there is too much that is ephemeral and throwaway, which just serve to make you want to skip or put it down (the latter in my case as I'm a determined cover to cover reader). But the last section does not have this, and it is the most consistently powerful, not surprising given the subject matter. But it is not morbid or self indulgent. It's cathartic, terrible in sadness, haunting, but also affirming and liberating in its descriptions of the strength of love and the spirit. Charles Darwin's correspondence with his wife during the fatal illness of their beloved Annie is the longest single chain of correspondence in the volume and thank goodness, because it is wonderful, shaking in it sadness, but wonderful.
This is a treasure chest then, sometimes frustrating but ultimately incredibly rewarding. I recommend that you do read it cover to cover to get the overview, and then keep it at hand to revisit the gems.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, informative and funny anthology, 26 Sept. 2010
By 
Caterina (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Love to the Little Ones: The Trials and Triumphs of Parents Through the Ages in Letters, Diaries, Memoirs and Essays (Hardcover)
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This isn't the sort of book you're going to sit down and read in one go. But every time I dip into it I am surprised by how entertaining and interesting it is. It is an anthology of extracts from letters and diaries, from the Paston letters onwards, with sections on pregnancy, birth, nursing, childhood, adolescence, grown up children, and the death of children (rather upsetting). Each section has a very brief introduction and each letter/diary entry is preceded by a couple of lines of editorial comment - rather wry but sensible in tone. It is fascinating and moving - revealing both the similar dilemmas and difficulties (battles over clothes, worries about health and behaviour, offers to bake "pye" for students) that parents have faced over across the centuries, and the differences (high childhood mortality, "thrashings"). Often the events described in it cast new light on the many benefits of modern life that we take for granted. It is fair to say that it is a reflective book so may not satisfy those who like books where things "happen". But if you are, or are looking for a present for, a fond and literate parent or grandparent with an interest in history and in personal relationships, it is likely to be very rewarding.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A poignant look at history, 16 Sept. 2010
By 
Dodster (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Love to the Little Ones: The Trials and Triumphs of Parents Through the Ages in Letters, Diaries, Memoirs and Essays (Hardcover)
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This book offers fascinating insights into what it was like to bring up children in ages past. It really makes you rather glad to be around now, and appreciative of all the benefits we have nowadays. Medicine, childcare, hygiene are the things we often take for granted. I found this book a real eye opener. This is an excellent book for parents and grandparents, although probably more for ladies as it is quite sentimental.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and entertaining, 9 Sept. 2010
By 
EmmaH (Dorset, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Love to the Little Ones: The Trials and Triumphs of Parents Through the Ages in Letters, Diaries, Memoirs and Essays (Hardcover)
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Whether you're a parent or a historian, there's plenty to keep you both appalled and amused in this well-researched book of child-rearing through English history. Not that it's some dull treatise on parenting practice and attitudes through the ages - everything it contains is seen through the eyes of parents or their near relations as revealed through their letters and diary excerpts. Real voices speak to us through the pages, even through the obscurities of earlier English syntax and spelling.

Having had four of the little blighters myself, there was plenty I could relate to, from sympathising with the plight of Margaret Paston, pregnant in 1444, who complains of being so fat she no longer has anything to wear, to modern author Rachel Cusk's measured analysis of the difficulties involved in new motherhood.

As all good history books do, it makes you realise that while culture and circumstance shift ceaselessly, not much changes in human nature. Parents in the 17th century, for instance, clearly experienced the same mix of angst and joy that besets those in the 21st. However what I liked most about the book was its strong feminine voice. Yes, there are many letters and diary excerpts written by men, but it is the women's experience of what has traditionally been seen as their domain - the birthing and rearing of children - that really shine through. All too often the history we learn at school and beyond is men's history, full of war and power struggles and grand masculine drama. "Love to the Little Ones" confines itself to a smaller canvas - hearth and home - and is all the more interesting and poignant for that.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing miscellany, 8 Sept. 2010
By 
John Wilson (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Love to the Little Ones: The Trials and Triumphs of Parents Through the Ages in Letters, Diaries, Memoirs and Essays (Hardcover)
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This is certainly not the kind of book to read from cover to cover. I did try that but, finding the confection altogether too sweet, made slow progress. Howevr, when dipped into, over a period of a few weeks, and consumed in manageable bites, one finds delightful anecdotes and tales of parenthood in days gone by. This book is an education in parenthood which brings together those born generations apart.

Strange though it may seem there remains a debate about whether or ancestors, used to a life filled with misery, suffering and premature death, could have felt the way we do for our children. Surely, if they did then their lives would be truly miserable? This book puts that theory fully to the test - and for one who has always been just so slightly undecided, I cannot deny that I was moved on more than one occasion. That the death and suffering of children was all too common did not make the loss any easier to bear. (Look at how Charles Darwin was affected by the death of his dear daughter.)

So the book succeeds in showing the tenderness, humour, passion and tragedy of yesterday's parents were more than equal to our own. Indeed the intensity of feeling here in many extracts is almost alien when set next to our safe and sterile world in the affluent West.

Anyone who is excited by (re)discovering our common humanity with those who have gone before will find much to enjoy in this fine anthology.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Illuminating, 22 July 2010
By 
Stuart Burns (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Love to the Little Ones: The Trials and Triumphs of Parents Through the Ages in Letters, Diaries, Memoirs and Essays (Hardcover)
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Not being a parent myself, I don't yet have much of an idea of the trials someone might go through in crafting another human being. This is historical collection demonstrates beautifully that actually everyone's experience is different and no one has easy answers. Which is perfect.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful collection, 25 Jun. 2010
By 
Ben Whitehouse "Book geek" (Wrexham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Love to the Little Ones: The Trials and Triumphs of Parents Through the Ages in Letters, Diaries, Memoirs and Essays (Hardcover)
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This is a delightful collection of letters, diaries, by various parents through history.

Other reviews have hinted at the need to not sit down and read cover to cover but rather to dip in and out.

I was reluctant to give it away as a gift.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A sentimental tear-jerker, 17 Jun. 2010
By 
Ray Blake (Hemel Hempstead, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Love to the Little Ones: The Trials and Triumphs of Parents Through the Ages in Letters, Diaries, Memoirs and Essays (Hardcover)
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My wife read this first and if her little sniffles and wails are anything to go by, it was an emotional experience. It was less so for me, although there were some smiles to be found lurking. I agree with other reviewers that there is too much commentary here, both in the introduction and individual positioning pieces. However, as someone who abhors books of quotations, I found this refreshingly interesting since it goes beyond the out-of-context-extract approach those books normally adopt.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, a nice gift, 27 May 2010
By 
Laura Smith (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Love to the Little Ones: The Trials and Triumphs of Parents Through the Ages in Letters, Diaries, Memoirs and Essays (Hardcover)
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This is a nice little anthology packed with lots of interesting memories and essays. Great for anyone with kids, there is something for everyone to relate to. Would make a great gift.
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