- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Belknap Press; First Harvard University Press paperback ed., 2006 edition (April 30, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674019989
- ISBN-13: 978-0674019980
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 25 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood First Harvard University Press paperback ed., 2006 Edition
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Huck's Raft is a rich and fascinating study of the realities of children's lives--and adults' ideas about children and our responsibilities towards them--throughout our nation's history. (Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children's Defense Fund)
Huck's Raft is simply the best overview of the history of childhood in the US. Through masterful scholarship and lively writing, it persuasively exposes some widespread myths about family history, while telling fascinating stories about children's lives past and present. Mintz's work shows that historical understanding can guide our responses to the problems of children today. (Linda Gordon, author of The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction)
Steven Mintz’s Huck’s Raft is the most comprehensive, culturally sensitive history of American childhood ever written. It illuminates in fascinating detail the variegated experience of the nation’s children, but it is equally successful in revealing the mentalities of the adults who have shaped childhood over time. This book is sure to become the standard in the field. (John R. Gillis, author of A World of Their Own Making: Myth, Ritual, and the Quest for Family Values)
At last, a synthesis of the scattered research on the history of youth. Meticulously researched and engagingly written, Mintz's book is sure to become a classic. (Stephanie Coontz, author of The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap)
Huck's Raft is a breath of fresh air. This engaging and compelling account of the history of childhood in America is a tonic by a first-rate historian that is both scholarly and beautifully written. A must read for all those concerned with our youth today and in times past. (Frank F. Furstenberg, author of Managing to Make It: Urban Families and Adolescent Success)
Steven Mintz's remarkable and comprehensive book provides the first important synthesis of childhood in American history. Learned and rich in detail, it will become indispensable for all those who want to know more about children's experiences over the past 400 years. (Paula Fass, author of Kidnapped: Child Abduction in America)
Mintz revisits the treatment of children from the Puritan era up to the edge of the millennium, which he calls 'The Unfinished Century of the Child,' showing that we have alternately vilified our offspring (the Puritans believed they were born in sin) and glorified them (Victorian parents saw them as pure and angelic)...Mintz's thorough yet accessibly written study delves into the external forces that have shaped the lives of our young while also probing the internal developments in their collective consciousness. (Janet Sassi Library Journal 2004-07-15)
No aspect of American life is as shrouded in idealizing myth as childhood. In this compelling work of historical synthesis, Mintz argues forcefully...that for most of the past three centuries childhood has been the exception rather than the norm...That childhood has mostly been less than ideal is not surprising. What may be, for many readers, is Mintz's portrait of just how far from the ideal this country has been--and perhaps continues to be--in meeting the health needs, education and welfare of all its children. (Publishers Weekly 2004-09-06)
The children of the past did possess something lost to their descendants of today: freedom. Once kids were allowed to ride their bikes all over town or idle away the summer in daydreams; they could fail a course or even a grade, and no one got overly excited about it; they might even make serious mistakes and find themselves pregnant or working on the line at Ford rather than studying lines of poetry at college. But now, in our test-driven, increasingly regimented educational system, we forthrightly aim to leave no child behind, which means that we leave no child alone. Slow learners must be sped up, dreamy kids must be made to focus, all must wear uniforms, and, eventually, all must have prizes--or at least AP courses. In the past, parents might exploit their kids as little more than indentured servants or simply ignore them. Today we are their chauffeurs and social secretaries...This is, then, a rich and stimulating book, revealing how much childhood has changed over the centuries and how much some things never change...I suppose that every generation of adults tends to feel, when regarding the young people around them, that the barbarians are at the gates. But really, there's nothing for us to worry about: One day our children will have children of their own. (Michael Dirda Washington Post 2004-12-12)
[Mintz] proposes to set the record straight in his sweeping study of American childhood that effectively synthesizes a large body of scholarship on its subject. The result is an engaging, sober and often poignant account of how adults have viewed and treated children and, equally important, how children's own experiences and life chances have been heavily influenced by economics, race and ethnicity...The compelling history of childhood he offers us is a valuable reminder that nostalgia for a golden age that never existed is not just misleading, but counterproductive. (Eric Arnesen Chicago Tribune 2005-01-02)
About the Author
Steven Mintz is Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin and Executive Director of the University of Texas System’s Institute for Transformational Learning.
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This fine work is filled with fascinating bits of information as the aforementioned. It spans the period between the 17th century up to the period of the Columbine massacre, showing the myriad changes which accompanied childhood in America. Great reading and great history, highly recommended. If you have an interest in this subject matter you will not be disappointed. READ IT!!!