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The Disappearance of Childhood

Narrated by: Jeff Riggenbach
Length: 5 hrs and 57 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (80 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the vogue for nubile models to the explosion in the juvenile crime rate, this modern classic of social history and media traces the precipitous decline of childhood in America today, and the corresponding threat to the notion of adulthood.

Deftly marshaling a vast array of historical and demographic research, Neil Postman suggests that childhood is a relatively recent invention, which came into being as the new medium of print imposed divisions between children and adults. But now these divisions are eroding under the barrage of television, which turns the adult secrets of sex and violence into popular entertainment and pitches both news and advertising at the intellectual level of 10-year-olds. Informative, alarming, and aphoristic, The Disappearance of Childhood is a triumph of history and prophecy.

©1982 Neil Postman (P)1996 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Postman uses cogent arguments, sharp needles, and gentle humor to challenge listeners." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

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  • Overall
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Thoughtful and perceptive

This is a most interesting book to read in conjunction with such current works as The Big Disconnect by Catherine Steiner Adair and Reclaiming Conversation by Sherry Turkle

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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An incredible essay on history, education, and media

Mindbending and extremely accessible. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that has left me with this many thoughts to grapple with. I was blown away by the author’s thesis about the impact of print, school, and media through the centuries. What an incredible wide-sweeping historical essay. I believe that a great deal of the books’s theories about TV apply directly to social media as well. An incredibly relevant read.

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A Haunting And Prophetic Discourse

This book is a must-read for anyone concerned about todays youth. It is far more true now than perhaps it was even at the time of its composition in the late 1980s or early 90s. Parents, educators, youth ministers and others would do well to make this an essential part of their library. As Postman demonstrates, both childhood and adulthood are in many ways disappearing and just as alarmingly, reversing roles. #Intergenerational #Captivating #Creepy #Haunting #Depressing #TagsGiving #SweepStakes

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A bit of a stretch, and needs updating.

Although I think Postman is (was) on to something, he tends to stretch his conclusions far beyond what the evidence supports, weakening his argument unnecessarily. The book is also in need of an updated edition for the Internet age, as it was written early in the Reagan administration and focuses on television, rather than the Internet. A savvy reader will be able to look beyond this and extrapolate the arguments to the modern age, but we have much more data available nearly 40 years after this book was first published, and it would be much more interesting and topical should it specifically cover the Internet and social media.

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Enlightening

This book was truly Enlightening in that it opened my eyes to how pervasive the death of childhood has become in our society.