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The Disappearance of Childhood Paperback – August 2, 1994
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book basically says that everyone acted the same until the printing press came along. This medium created a society where you had adults that could access information via reading, whereas kids really couldn't (not like adults anyway). Hence, we now have a separation between the people that read (adults) and the ones that don't (children). As time went on, adults' books were complicated and had things forbidden to children in them. Children's books were simple and well constructed for their age. People then started seeing children as qualitatively different from themselves; they made special laws and special clothes for children.
However, that changed with TV. Now what adults know, children also know. There is no hiding any adult type information from children (like sex), because of the ease of accessing T.V. Furthermore, unlike books, you don't need to acquire a skill to access information via TV (like being able to read). Since most people aren't blind, the 6-year-old is similar to the 60-year-old now in accessing information. Consequently, we see the disappearance of childhood. (He offers a range of proofs on how childhood is indeed changing.)
Personally, I agree with the thesis, but believe the way it was derived, was weak. However, there is a lot of information to be learned by reading this. It is also a fun book to read. That is why I give it four stars.
Basically, Postman in his book said: "Society no longer values the distinctiveness of Children relative to Adults, and as a result the institution of Childhood is eroding out of existence."
The Children responded by saying: "We are TOO Distinct from Adults!", and Postman praised them for valuing their declining distinctiveness enough to defend the concept that they are still distinct (a concept all too often not defended by Adults).
Postman values Childhood, and as a result he values (and praises) children who show by their words that they value childhood themselves.
And the thing that is that Postman explicitly said in his Preface to the new edition that he was praising the Children for showing they valued Childhood and for raising the thrilling possibility to Postman's mind that Children could themselves be a conserving force against the array of Adult assaults upon the Childhood Concept. Moreover, he most assuredly gave no indication that he was praising them for agreeing with him.
There is nothing difficult to understand in this, and as a result one may conclude it possible that the misreading of the Amazon reviewer (a misreading clearly intended to discredit Postman) was both willful and deceptive in its intent.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book by Neil Postman is well written in his usual accessible and informative style. The research and reasoning are very sound, and the book gets you thinking and reflecting on... Read morePublished 4 months ago by The fat cat
Written in 1982, "The Disappearance of Childhood" is prophetic in how it predicts the birth of the adult-child. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Jiang Xueqin
Much food for though here in this modern classic from Postman, and much to be concerned about if he is correct, which I feel he is in many respects. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mr. Timothy S. Jones
I feel like we are all being swept up in new technology - computers, digital radio, Ipods, cable TV, blogs, Internet, RSS, cell phones, video games,... Read morePublished 10 months ago by I. Wells
By now this must be a 'classic' and it is a much needed book for our day. Parents who care about childhood need to read this!Published 14 months ago by M. Snow
excellent book. Any parent or teacher should read i! As a consequence,parents may slow down their use of mobile devices /midia to make their kids quiet for a while. An eye opener.Published 14 months ago by Paula Tavolaro
As part of the millennial generation, childhood is a fascinating subject. They say that helicopter parents ruined childhood. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Black Sheep & Lorax
Fascinating philosophical look at the way children have been perceived for the last circa 500 years.Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer