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Showing 1-10 of 28 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 53 reviews
on August 10, 2015
Written in 1982, "The Disappearance of Childhood" is prophetic in how it predicts the birth of the adult-child. In Neil Postman's analysis, "childhood" is a social construct, invented in response to the printing press revolution. Literacy was a clear dividing line between adults and children, and once "childhood" was invented adults felt also compelled to keep secrets from children. But with the advent of television and the dominance of the image of the word "childhood" is fast disappearing with terrible social consequences. When "childhood" disappears, so does "adulthood," so that in the age of television even adults no longer think in the nuanced and sophisticated way that defined adulthood in previous generations.

This is not Postman's best work. It lack the fluency of prose and argument of his best books.
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on March 2, 2017
How is it that in all these years of reading, I've just now discovered Neil Postman? Short version: this book is brilliant -- insightful, thought-provoking, beautifully well written. The author's extended riff on television commercials as a modern take on the religious parable is stunning. The book was originally published in 1984, so the cultural references are dated, but don't let that deter you. The points he makes about the "disappearance of childhood" are more relevant today than when the book was written. I've become an instant fan of Mr. Postman and will be seeking out anything else he's written.
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on March 21, 2016
Childhood disappeared because people statistically defined childhood in the late 19th and early 20th century. This arbitrary and artificial category did not exist for most of history and the promotion of this artificial category has only promoted generational disunity. The author laments the return to pre-statistical states as do most of Christian America who were raised to view Victorian England or the romanticized "Little House on the Prairie" ideal of family life. Maybe we need to work on raising children to be wise rather than be innocent prey for all who will prey on the unsuspecting children. You read, you decide.
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on November 7, 2010
This is an amazing book on the escape from and the return to barbarism. I think abo9ut this book every time I hear somebody mention that children sure grow up faster these days, or see 6 and 7 year old girls plastered with make-up talking about sex, or .... there cannot be any doubt that children have access to much more than they did just 20 years ago. Postman does a great job of setting forth a living story from our own times. I personally eliminated television from my life almost 18 years ago and am happier today than ever. Too bad Mr. Postman did not have the opportunity to update his book to add modern day internet. This book should change the way you think about modern "progress" without any sense of control. It is an eye opening essay that I recommend to just about everybody I meet.
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on September 14, 2015
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 the social changes that have taken place since it was first published. As it says in the preface to the current edition, the topic and conclusions remain as relevant and true today as they were a couple of decades ago. And there is a lot to ponder in relation to the contemporary means of communication, mass media, and the nature of being a child and an adult. I think that this book sheds light on many practices that define people's relationships today, and gives a good understanding of how we have actually arrived at the point where we are now as a society.
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on October 4, 2009
I was introduced to the writings of Neil Postman very recently and for that I am glad. He combines knowledge, great writing skills and the ability to prophesize about the future, and the result is always a powerful book that is usually way ahead of its time. This book is no exception.
This is a very disturbing book, and what exasperates things is that the author seems to be right. It is easier to agree with this book today that it was when it was first published because many things that the author mentions have actually became true. The author describes how the idea of childhood first came about and shows that it was a necessary step in the evolution of man as a social animal. The author then goes on to tell the reader how this necessary idea is now disappearing. Children and adults dress the same way, they speak the same way and most importantly they have access to the same information. Ever parent should read this book to be aware of what too much information might do to children. I know that a lot of people might not agree with the main premises of the book, but I am sure that most parents will relate to it.
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on October 3, 2016
I had no inkling before I read this book that "childhood" is an idea that shows up and disappears throughout history. In this book, Postman points out that we Westerners need to pay attention to the disappearance of childhood that characterizes our current culture and asks us to consider if that is what we really want for our children.
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on July 5, 2008
Beggining with Classical Greece, Postman catlogues the journey and development of childhood. I assumed he would have begun in the Industrial Revolution, which is where msot others might likely have started. However, Postman was never like most others.

An enjoyable, though troubling book to read, my favourite bits come earlier in the book where we find that childhood needs shame in order to be defiend. That shame is of adult things, and therefore, childhood is codefied by shame because the seperation then occurs, with adults needing to protect children. Is this shame then hidden in literature?

I'd go on, but you must simply raed through it yourself. I found it fascinating... and, as I've said before, troubling. This was written in the mid eighties, but this fact does not make it irrelevent. The apst twenty-some years may only provide more confirmation of Neil Postman's thesis.

A great book.
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on March 31, 2016
A thought provoking book that reveals a host of challenges to children growing up in our modern world. Neil Postman admits he has no great solutions, but his observations are excellent for adults recognize obstacles in order to help children make their way to an excellent adulthood
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on January 25, 2009
This book pairs well with Mr. Postman's superb book, "Are We Amusing Ourselves to Death?" Both together give the reader a deep understanding of the difference between our former print culture and our present electronic culture. Although they were written before the internet catapulted into such prominence, it is amazing how the author conveys how deeply different are cultures based in print and based in electronics. The major changes we see and will see in children produced by an electronic culture are well foreshadowed by this book.
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