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VINE VOICEon 11 March 2007
I bought this book together with 'Toxic Childhood' by Sue Palmer. They are a well matched, complementary pair. Whereas Palmer's book is a 'how to' manual on the pitfalls of bringing up children in a society that is inimical to their well being and proper development, and contains lots of useful advice for parents and other adults, Postman's book provides a theoretical rationale for Palmer's viewpoint. Anyone who, on reading Palmer's book, is tempted to write her of as an illiberal fuddy-duddy should read Postman. 'The Disappearance of Childhood' was first published a quarter of a century ago, but is becoming (sadly) more up to date with every passing day. It's hard to pick any holes in this erudite and stylish account of how our social construction of childhood arrived with the printing press in the sixteenth century and is now being ushered out by twentieth century modes of electronic communication, leaving us with a society bereft of any special attitude towards children, a society that harks back to the dark and middle ages. The main culprit (of course) is television, but this is not just a rant against 'dumbing down'. (No, really; you'll just have to read it yourself.) As interesting as Postman's views on the 'adultification' of children is his notion of the 'childification' of adults. No-one can explain this better than Postman himself, so do give it a go. Even if you don't agree with everything Postman says, even if you find some of your own cherished ideas and values under attack, at least you won't be bored.
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on 6 November 2000
In Postman's book you will find the substance behind the phrase my parents' peers use constantly: it was never like that in my day. Said with a shake of the head over the dress sense of the average pre-pubescent girl it may sound like just another bit of grown-up nonsense but thought out and presented in the way Postman does in The Disappearance of Childhood it suddenly becomes terrifying. Childhood is on the endangered list. Postman charts the emergence of childhood alongside the invention of printing. He describes childhood as being a place cut off from the secrets of the printed world. If children know what adults know then there is nothing to distinguish between them. Read it to find out what let the cat out of the bag and perhaps a hint about how to put it back in again.
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on 17 January 2009
Though this book was written about twenty years ago - and therefore riddled with outdated media references - its ideas are thought-provoking and as relevant today as they were on their original publication, if not more so. Though Postman offers no solutions to the problem, his neat history of childhood - how it has been experienced, and how it has developed, changed and declined over the centuries - is interesting and illuminating. He offers little hope, but hails the family and educational institutions as possible saviours of childhood through tradition and morality. Really quite inspiring.
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on 1 September 2006
I am writing this review whilst half way through the book. You are lucky that I have got the time to do this. This book is truly engaging and absorbs you into it. The strongest line being, 'Children are what we send as living examples to a time we do not get to see.' I think that is what we need to pay heed to. We were once chidlren and we will likely have children at some point in our life and the reality is, children are a symbol of innocence and require relevant nurturing & upbringing & protection to reach their full potential. This book aims more to discuss the history and the current situation of the concept of Childhood, a awesome read even for those not interested in the topic of 'Childhood.'
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on 12 March 2014
I read this book in two days - its humourous at the same time as being erudite about the effects of the media on our children. Highly interesting and informative.
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on 26 March 2013
It has beautiful examples and explanations on modern childhood, compared to historic times and the causes of the shifting trend. Very easy read too.
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helpful for studies and comparisons. Easy to understand and great when used with Cunningham, 2006 as there are some differing views.
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on 11 December 2014
gives you a good understanding of how modern education has had a negative effect on how youth deal with resposibilities
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on 29 November 2015
great read for anyone studying childhood at any level
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on 16 December 2014
labours the point but priesecent
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