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Saving Childhood: Protecting Our Children from the National Assault on Innocence Hardcover – August 26, 1998

3.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Michael Medved, author, former Sneak Previews co-host and syndicated radio columnist, joins his wife, Diane, psychotherapist and author of The Case Against Divorce, in presenting a two-part argument against contemporary America's assault on childhood. The assault, they claim, is four-pronged, and is being launched by the media, the schools, children's peers and, finally, parents themselves. "Most emphatically, we do not advocate any kind of censorship," the authors state; instead they advocate shielding children from adult themes and issues until later in their lives. The Medveds attack broadly defined families, self-esteem-oriented teaching, politically popular ideas of sex and drug education ("they frighten children") and childhood icons of the 1990s?the books of R.L. Stine and Judy Blume. Their conservative slant (Diane Medved co-authored The American Family with Dan Quayle) is supported with exhaustive research from credible media and anecdotal vignettes from their career experiences as well as from their own home. As we meet their children and even share a Sabbath meal with them, their sobering concern about lost innocence becomes valid and relevant. Rather than prepare children for a grim reality, the authors argue, the intact family should hold them safely, until, as adults, they've gained the power and foresight to help solve the difficult problems created by well-intended liberal permissiveness. The defense of innocence, the Medveds conclude, is tri-fold: give children security, encourage their sense of wonder and feed them optimism.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

The Medveds speak for many when they say that too much of present-day U.S. culture is inimical to childhood. And it isn't just a matter of trash TV for the former PBS-TV movie reviewer and his psychologist spouse. Other culprits are sensationalized news in all media; profane and violent amusements of all sorts; too early, too explicit sex education; fostering self-esteem at the expense of learning; dire, one-sided presentation to children of such large problems as environmental degradation; gangs and other bad peer groups; and parents spending too much time at work and not enough with their kids. Nor does that exhaust the Medveds' bill of indictable particulars that, they say, together tend to make children unnecessarily fearful, cynical, and sad. Indeed, two-thirds of their lively, heartfelt book consists of their analysis of the national assault on innocence. In the remaining third, and drawing heavily upon their parenting of two daughters and a son, all still under 12, they discuss how to maintain children's innocence for its proper duration by providing psychological security, encouraging children's sense of wonder, and inculcating optimism. Chief among specific actions they advise is--ironically enough, coming from a former TV "star" --to stop watching the tube and to read instead, especially to the kids. An honorable addition to the strain of child-advocacy literature that runs from Marie Winn's Children without Childhood (1981) to Dana Mack's Assault on Parenthood (1997). Ray Olson

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 324 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishing; 1st edition (1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060173726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060173722
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,937,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Medved is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host, best-selling author and veteran film critic. His daily three-hour program, emphasizing the intersection of politics and pop culture, reaches close to 5 million listeners in over 200 markets, coast to coast. For twelve consecutive years, he's been listed by Talkers Magazine as one of their "Heavy Hundred" most important American talk show hosts, and for seven of those years his show has also been listed as one of the ratings top ten.

Born in Philadelphia, raised in San Diego, Mr. Medved graduated with honors from Yale and then attended Yale Law School-where his classmates included Bill and Hillary Clinton. After working as a screenwriter in Hollywood, he reviewed movies for CNN, and later as chief film critic for the New York Post. He also served for twelve years as co-host of "Sneak Previews," the nationally televised weekly movie review show on PBS-TV.

Mr. Medved is the author of twelve non-fiction books, including the national bestseller "What Really Happened to the Class of '65" (the basis for a popular TV series on NBC), as well as the definitive history of the White House chiefs of staff, "The Shadow Presidents". His most influential-and controversial-work was a best-selling indictment of the entertainment industry, "Hollywood Vs. America". England's prestigious Guardian newspaper wrote: "Just Occasionally, a book changes the way the world thinks. Michael Medved's Hollywood Vs. America is such a book." Mr. Medved then collaborated with his wife, Dr. Diane Medved, a clinical psychologist and author in her own right, on "Saving Childhood: Protecting Our Children from the National Assault on Innocence". In October 1998, the Wall Street Journal wrote: "If Saving Childhood isn't an important book, I don't know what one would look like." His book, "Right Turns" (Crown Forum/Random House, January, 2005) drew rave reviews for its "lively and intimate" description of his transition from "punk liberal activist" to "lovable conservative curmudgeon."

Most recently, Michael's book "The 10 Big Lies About America," spent twelve weeks on the New York Times extended bestseller list, and became a Main Selection of the Conservative Book Club. The follow-up volume, "The 5 Big Lies About American Business," was published by Random House/Crown Forum in December 2009.

Mr. Medved has been a frequent guest on all the major TV talk shows, including Larry King Live, Nightline, Oprah, David Letterman, Good Morning America, CNN's Reliable Sources and countless others. His columns on media and society appear regularly in USA Today, where he serves as a member of the Board of Contributors. The Medveds live in the Seattle area where they've raised their three children.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Controversy is deliciously entertaining, violence is shocking and sensual content is titillating.....for most adults. But what is this doing to our children? The Media has so permeated our lives that it seems there is no way to protect "childhood innocence."

"Saving Childhood" offers parents hope and practical tips on how to encourage security, a sense of wonder and optimism in the life of a child. This book will empower parents and give them hope for the future.

The first part of the book has been written to make parents aware of the realities of the situation and explains the "Assault" on innocence. The second part is the "Defense." Michael and Diane explain that the Assault is coming from Media, Schools, Peers and Parents. They show how statistics have proved that the problems in our society are getting worse at a rapid pace and back this up with scientific evidence. They also explain many points with examples from the raising of their own three children.

The Medveds explain how we live in a land where sex education has failed to reduce teenage pregnancy, children feel guilty for existing, parents push their children to grow up too fast, children have a lack of moral values, and parents have taken a passive role.

So who is educating our children? It seems an inadequate school system and the TV!

Television is well known for programs which contain high levels of violence. I have long been a believer that TV violence causes aggression. Michael and Diane prove this point and I found it interesting to read about how the crime rates increased soon after the introduction of TV into various towns.

I grew up in South Africa for most of my childhood and remember very few people having TV's in the early years.
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Format: Paperback
What a novel concept! Michael and Diane Medved have decided that parenting is not only important, but actually worth the time and effort required to rear happy, well-mannered progeny. While this book is rife with suggestions about issues such as schooling, vacationing, and the evening meal, perhaps no social convention is confronted so adamantly as the television. Supplying solid statistics and reasonable examples, the authors make a convincing argument in the idea of eliminating one's TV altogether.
But this book is not an attack on America's social system. It's a call to regain control of one's family by exercising wisdom, temperance, discipline, common sense, and optimism in an age when examples of such qualities seem to be difficult to find.
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Format: Hardcover
For all parents and those concerned about the effects of popular culture on the minds and hearts of their children, this is an essential book. The Medveds point out the perils of the "preparation" paradigm currently in vogue. According to this way of thinking, children must be prepared for the worst, in order to protect them. In realilty by telling children that the world is an evil place full of danger the "preparation" advocates are frightening them needlessly, destroying their innocence, and making them prematurely cynical. Sex education in kindergarten, distribution of condoms in junior high, debunking of religion in public schools, bad examples set by politicians including the president, are just a few of the topics which are explored in this timely and important book. SAVING CHILDHOOD succintly demonstrates that children's happiness depends upon optimism, innocence, and a sense of wonder The Medveds give practical tips and pointers on how to provide these three qualities for your children. I highly recommend this book..
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Format: Hardcover
I was quite receptive to the premise of the book, as I have been decrying the growing move to make "little adults" out of children, and I am struggling to insure some sense of childhood for my own two children. The Medveds are well intentioned, but they try so hard that it undermines some good points included in their analysis. To use a baseball analogy: they came up with the bases loaded; rather than simply trying to put runs on the board with a solid single, they loaded up for the grand slam, resulting in a pop to third base.
The book is quite "over the top" in its included examples of our culture and the manner in which to counteract the at-times negative influence of the media, peers, school, and parents. As other reviewers have noted, some of the Medveds' examples of their reaction to certain situations are downright chilling. One example: their local librarian had (innocently) recommended a particular Judy Blume story to the Medveds' 7 year old daughter (a gifted reader); the Medveds were shocked to find that it included a discussion of menstruation. The parents' reaction was to take the book from the child, tell the child the topic was off-limits until they were older, and then to forbid the child from checking any book out of the library that was written since 1960. Geez! Why not pull the librarian aside and say that you would appreciate more age-appropriate recommendations, rather than a "young adult" level Judy Blume book? Why not have a simple talk with the daughter about menstruation? Would it really corrupt her "innocent" childhood that much?
Although the tone can seem "holier than thou", I believe the Medveds are well-intentioned.
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