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Continuum Concept (Arkana) Paperback – November 23, 1989

4.4 out of 5 stars 204 customer reviews

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Paperback, November 23, 1989
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About the Author

Jean Liedloff has written for the Sunday Times and was a founding member of the Ecologist magazine. She lectures and broadcasts around the world to students, doctors, parents, psychotherapists and the general public. She lives in London.

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Product Details

  • Series: Arkana
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; New Ed edition (November 23, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014019245X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140192452
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (204 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,809,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Let me get two caveats out of the way (and forgive the narcissism of my mini-bio):
1) Most of the reviews I have seen on this book seem to come from parents and are testaments to the validity or lack of validity of the continuum concept. I am not a parent*. I have no immanent plans to experience parenthood (or to not experience parenthood) at this point and I am painfully nearsighted on this issue. So I have no desire to debate whether the Continuum Concept is 1) the right way to raise a child in this culture, 2) if its feasible or 3) what to do about modern dangers that exist outside of the environment that man evolved under, etc. I read the Continuum Concept at the suggestion of a friend who is a psychoanalyst. I read it for the insight it would give me into my own life and childhood. It is the similar soul that this review is directed toward: the reader who simply wants to understand their own past and present in light of the concepts that Liedloff puts forth.
2) I try not to write reviews just after finishing a particular book. I find that I am still 'impressionable' and it takes a while for me to let the subjectivity of the author pass out of my system. It takes a while to integrate my identity with any new thoughts or perceptions that arise from reading a new book.
With that said, I read The Continuum Concept earlier this year and I am amazed at how much the thoughts and ideas that were bubbling in my mind at the time I read the book are still present in my conscious mind. If you want to read a book that will bring your opinions about your upbringing and the whole western system of values under scrutiny, this is the book for you.
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Format: Paperback
My husband and I read this book 9 years ago, before the birth of our son, and it spoke to our hearts. Employing the simple idea that a baby who starts life in the womb shouldn't be abruptly separated from the mother after birth, we maintained almost constant contact with him for the first few months. I was amazed at some of the resistance, resentment, even hostility, people sometimes demonstrated when informed that we slept with our newborn and never left him to cry. All their protests were based on nothing but groundless fears -- "You'll roll over and smother him! You'll 'spoil' him!" Etc. Well, he became naturally more and more independent and separate at his own pace, not an arbitrarily imposed one (that's the "continuum" part), and weaned himself from the breast at 11 months, rather than at a time decided by the "experts" or demands of employment. He is now 9 years old, and is a wonderful, happy, secure, well-adjusted boy, and I never cease getting compliments from everyone who meets him on how considerate, engaging, empathetic, kind, and well socialized he is. I credit Liedloff's book for all of this. If I could give one message to all would-be parents, I would say: Don't buy into the lie that material things are what's important to provide your child, and if you yourself are so wrapped up in financial gain that you won't temporarily sacrifice it to bond with him the first year of life, you're selling yourselves short. Invest the first 6 months to 1 year of his life raising him in your arms, and you will be giving him, and yourself, more than a billion dollars could ever buy.
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Somehow I had the impression that Jean Liedloff's diamond-in-the-rough work was a comparison of modern day parenting to that of primitive tribes in general; instead, it is primarily her observations on the Yequana tribe of Venezuela. It's obvious that Ms. Liedloff has a great affection for these peaceful people, but that positive bias is apparent, and eventually weakens her argument. It is also often necessary for the reader to make decisions about whether the author, writing in 1975, should be forgiven for her (currently) strange ideas -- using the universal "he" and "man" can certainly roll off one's back, but proclaiming that male homosexuality is the result of a mother's demanding and overattentive nature and female homosexuality the result of cruel or unloving fathers is not so forgivable. If this theory were true it should have better predictive value, yet who today believes her assertion? In addition, Liedloff avers that children's accidents and burns are not caused by children's physical or cognitive limitations but primarily by subconscious suggestions from the parents, even relating (and she should be ashamed) the story of a toddler who died in a drowning accident that was, according to her, caused not only by the parents' admonitions to stay away from the pool but also by their installation of a security fence around it. Furthermore, roller coaster devotees are actually attempting to capture the experience of adventure denied them as children (I can attest from personal experience that this is not the case), and criminality and addiction are explained by the lack of in-arms time, as are child abuse (discussed solely in terms of women abusing their children), promiscuity, martyrdom, acting, academics and compulsive travelling. Neat trick, if you can make it work.Read more ›
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