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The Greatest Generation Grows Up: American Childhood in the 1930s (American Childhoods Series) Paperback – March 29, 2007

4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1566637305 ISBN-10: 1566637309

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This latest volume in the American Childhoods series chronicles the lives and times of Americans who grew up during the Great Depression and entered adulthood during World War II. Lindenmeyer's aim is to show how children and adolescents both influenced and were the targets of important social and political changes. Chapter headlines relate Lindenmeyer's subject matter: "Stable and Fragile Families in Hard Times," "Work, If You Could Find It," "Transient Youth: On the Road to Nowhere," and "The Importance of Being Educated." Lindenmeyer rejects popular myths that idealize the past as a time of idyllic childhood, and this scrupulously researched book makes that point perfectly clear. She concludes that the 1930s model of childhood became the standard of modern American life but was unattainable for too many to make the dream a reality. This thought-provoking book, with 21 black-and-white illustrations, will encourage readers to reexamine their understanding of the 1930s and its effect on that generation. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

A heartening account of a tragic time. (Tom Starnes Delaware News Journal)

Clear and concise. (CHOICE)

Vividly told. . . . An eye opener. (Dennie Hall Oklahoman)

A remarkably compelling and enlightening account. . . . The children's experience's were distinguished from each other . . . as Lindenmeyer beautifully demonstrates. (Julia Grant Journal of American History)

[This book] covers a broad range of experiences. . . . It features highly accessible writing [and] vivid illustrations. (David Macleod H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online)

Lindenmeyer has written a highly readable, entertaining, and very useful volume. (Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, Iowa State University The Annals Of Iowa)

Kriste Lindenmeyer's lucid prose and lively narrative chronicles the history of childhood and children during the Great Depression in this handsomely printed volume with crisp photographic images and an original argument. (The Journal of Southern History)

Tightly focused. . . . Lindenmeyer's resourcefulness in this respect makes this book compelling and persuasive. (Stephen Lassonde Journal of Social History)

Thought-provoking. (George Cohen Booklist)

A splendid little book! An amazing amount of information . . . masterful synthesis . . . no student of children and youth and the 1930s can afford to be without it. (Joe Hawes, University of Memphis)

Combining lucid prose with telling anecdotes and compelling analysis, Kriste Lindenmeyer explains why the 1930s was a crucial watershed in the history of childhood. A fascinating and insightful book. (Steven Mintz, University of Houston)

Kriste Lindenmeyer, one of our most perceptive historians of childhood, acutely dissects the conceptions and misconceptions that have grown up about them. Our picture of them and their times will never be quite the same again. (Roger Daniels, Charles Phelps Taft Professor Emeritus of History, University of Cincinnati)

She revises our understanding . . . and reminds us of the value—and the complications—of generational histories. (Harvey J. Graff, Ohio State University)

Entertaining as well as thought-provoking. This book will be useful not only to scholars, but also to all who wish to understand the grass-roots impact of the Depression and New Deal on American families―an impact that reverberates through the generations to the present day. (Jeanette Keith, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania)

Anyone studying children’s rights or the concept of American childhood will want to make [Lindenmeyer's book] a part of their reading. (Midwest Book Review)
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Product Details

  • Series: American Childhoods Series
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee (March 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566637309
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566637305
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,320,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Eric Hobart VINE VOICE on October 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Kriste Lindenmeyer has done us a wonderful favor by giving us a portrait of childhood in 1930's America. She looks at many different facets of youth during these turbulent years including child labor, education, consumerism, and how the New Deal affected these youngsters.

Lindenmeyer's book is well written and is an enjoyable read. Her prose is clear & her arguments consise and well thought out. After reading this book, it is easy to see why the decade of the 30's changed childhood forever in America. Before this ten year span, education was of secondary importance, and children were not considered consumers. During the 30's, education became of prime importance to so many, youngsters were seen as consumers that could spark economic growth, and children were removed from the most oppressive labor conditions (i.e. manufacturing & mining).

The author's concluding chapter on the New Deal really struck me as important - it helped me to see where the FDR administration really did try to help the youth of America in addition to the adults who were so negatively impacted by the Great Depression. Formation of the EDC (Emergency Day Centers) for care of toddlers, the NYA (National Youth Administration) to promote education by providing stipends for work, and the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) with its abolition of child labor in most industries were all examples of positive impacts made by the New Deal for America's youth.

She borrows Tom Brokaw's phrase "The Greatest Generation" in describing these youngsters, because most men that went off to war in the 1940's were reared during this economic crisis. A very apt title for very important book.
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Format: Hardcover
American childhood in the 1930s became a government policy ideal which was reinforced by cultural changes during the Great Depression, and represented the first period of time in which the federal government provided a legal definition of childhood dependency as extending from birth through age seventeen. Any studying children's rights or American childhood will want to make The Greatest Generation Grows Up: American Childhood In The 1930s a part of their reading reference collection: it details social and political forces which shaped, defined and created new interpretations of childhood and dependency.
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By d edwards on November 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought this would be a book of anecdotes by people who grew up during the Depression and how they and their families made do.

Instead, it mainly discusses government programs enacted to deal with youth problems like education, etc. I read about 40% of the book and stopped.

A much better choice on the topic is "Riding the Rails" about teenagers on the move during the Depression by Errol Lincoln Uys.

Here you'll find personal accounts of life on the (rail) roads, some stories are just amazing. But, there is an underlying sense of hope-"if I can make through today, tomorrow will be better." I read it twice. It was also made into an excellent documentary available on Netflix. etc.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By paul daniels on March 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sounds like that the author leans strongly to Socialism and writing her opinions rather than reality. I had
to put it down.
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