Top positive review
51 people found this helpful
Is this a classic? No? Well, it deserves to be.
on 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.