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on 8 March 2010
It's a sad truth that the perople who really need to read this long-overdue book are the ones who never will. If you're reading this then, yes, this book does just wehat it ssays on the tin. Buy it!
This book covers so many things that concern society but which are ignored as, simply, there's no 'market' for this. Why are so many things in society getting worse? Why are people so damn miserable when they have so much better health, food and entertainment than their ancestors? Because there's something very simple and basic missing.
One thing to point out about this book is that it is NOT (To quote South Park) 'A load of Tree Hugging Hippie Cr*p' and it's not trying to 'Turn the clock back' or 'Deny progres'. It's a calmly assessed, properly researched book which points out what's increasingly missing in the lives of kids - and thus people -all over the globe.
Unlike our generation (By which, I mean, anyone old enough to be reading this review), todays kids of the Supermarket and Play Area never experience any kind of freedom in anything like 'nature'. They'll have been on trips to zoos and swimming pools, taken to other countries and seen more nature videos than we ever did, and they'll have had the whole gamut of ecological information rammed down their throats as something sad, responsible and Important, but the world of 'Nature' is merely academic knowledge, not a personal experience. They've never run randomly in a wood, climbing any tree they feel like, never laid in a bunch of grass staring at clouds or trying to catch crickets. They won't have just walked along an overgrown path, wacking stinging nettles with a stick. They'll have missed out on the value of mucking about with nature - that it doesn't include Words. Just raw experience, life, joy and learning self esteem through... mucking about.
Those kids are the adults of the Future. The ones running the world when you're in a home, and they'll make the decisions of what happens to this world. A world which doesn't know the value of these experiences is one which lacks, not simply joy and an appreciation of this but also of the awe which underlies any decent person, whether expressed in science or religion. The words 'Nature deficit Disorder' is a masterstroke. It needs a pseudo-medical term to get noticed nowadays and this is just the one to articulate something that most of us have increasingly felt in our bones and to open up the topic for discussion.
The sad truth is that there is no place in the world of business for the simple experience of kids mucking about ("Communing" is far too serious a word for kids) with nature. The 'stranger danger' hysteria, the winnowing away of experience due to 'No win no fee' obsession with insurance, loss of natural spaces with our exploding population, the commodification of 'Nature', the mass of consumer play, the completely controlled nature of today's 'car-ferried;' kids and the fact that they simply don't know what do do with a stick, some leaves and some mud has all added up to a childhood determined by advertising and directed consumption. This book shows how damaging this has become.
As a person, I've waited for decades for this book to be published. As a father, I know it's a book that is too late and too obscure (It's not on Daytime TV) for most kids today.
If you're reading this review now (Go you!) then you could do with the book to reasure yourself that, yes, it is the problem you fear it to be and you can make your kids lives better with it's insights. Mainly, however, you need to buy it to give to the parents whose kid never steps out of a car except to go to some sort of child-based business. THET'RE the ones that need this.
This is a book that should be made into a TV dosumentary (Only BBC or C4 would make it), so more people can consider it. Better still, it should be a basis for Government Policy. That it's asking for a recognition for Value rather than Money makes this tragically unlikely.
Buy the thing. You reading it is the best present your kids could have.
Now go and take them to somewhere with mud.
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on 28 February 2015
The book arrived from the seller quickly and in very good condition.
It took me a while to get into the book. I'm half way through reading it. It seems like it mostly a reflexion and memories of what a natural outdoors child hood used to be and what children are missing out on today. There is some link to philosophies and theories. So far it's ok, but I hope the rest of the book has more thoughts towards solutions and ideas to engage children in getting outdoors.
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on 5 December 2010
This book raises and discusses many issues regarding the closure and enclosure of previously open and available space in many of our neighbourhoods and communities, and how this has a negative effect on our health and wellbeing. It deals mainly with a U.S. scenario, but much of the concerns are applicable, if in less serious form, to my country, Ireland at least, and I am sure to many others too.

Adults scold children for 'lounging' around the house and ask them to go outside and play, but where can they do this if not as part of some organised activity or sport? Everywhere they congregate they are accused of loitering and asked to move on. We are developing a de-natured society that is very unhealthy. While many people who stop to consider this situation may have a grasp of this situation, Louv brings a wealth of research and professional thinking together to make a compelling argument for his thesis.

An excellent and easily readable book that I would recommend to anyone who is interested in our environment and everyone's,especially children's opportunity to experience it.
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on 22 May 2013
Bought book for dissertation study on the effects of outdoor play and nature on children's development, and am enjoying it.
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on 24 November 2016
A really important, must read book for all parents, teachers and anyone spending time with children. Learn the lessons of disasterous polices in the USA and steer a different course for children in the UK if we want well and happy children : they will be the custodians of our plane in the future.
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on 27 January 2017
I really wanted to love this book, as I had heard so much about it.
Sadly for me, it felt too 'American', and as a British person it wasn't relatable as the author makes a lot of references to places from his childhood (in the USA) which I couldn't quite understand.
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on 5 July 2017
I usually read things fairly quickly but I've been dipping in and out of this one - still think it's great and worth a read for all parents/carers/educators as it's full of interesting information and the message is so, so important.
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on 5 May 2008
This highly emotive and readable perspective of an American journalist is creating a huge movement of people and organisations who have said "Enough is enough" to litigation and other constraints on unstructured outdoor free play for children of all ages. The book cites the need for action to be taken by everyone to consider the environment in which we live and how it impacts on our health. For anyone interested in children, the outdoors, green spaces, wilderness areas, green design of urban places, etc. and who wants an introduction to a rapidly expanding movement in North America, then buy this book. The chapter which discusses spirituality and the nature is sensitively written and gives multi-faith examples of what religious groups are doing to address similar concerns. Be warned teachers! You may find yourself questioning the value of homework and after school activity clubs! Oooh! The up-dated edition has just been published. Buy a copy now or borrow from your local library!
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on 11 August 2015
I like the message of this book, and interesting to hear about some research that confirms what I intuitively feel already. However, the book does still read a bit like a rant of an old man and goes on a bit. I still would definitely recommend this read, if you feel like you want some inspiration for getting outdoors.
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on 27 June 2015
Required reading for anyone with a child. The basic premise is that kids need to be outdoors in unstructured play for their own mental health. Louv (and I) fear that society is turning its back on such activities in favor of "safe" indoor play with bad consequences for the kids.
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