A History of Childhood: Children and Childhood in the West from Medieval to Modern Times / Edition 1

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $13.50
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 83%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (12) from $13.50   
  • New (8) from $59.24   
  • Used (4) from $13.50   


In this lively and accessible book, Colin Heywood explores the changing experiences and perceptions of childhood from the early Middle Ages to the beginning of the twentieth century. Heywood examines the different ways in which people have thought about childhood as a stage of life, the relationships of children with their families and peers, and the experiences of young people at work, in school and at the hands of various welfare institutions. The aim is to place the history of children and childhood firmly in its social and cultural context, without losing sight of the many individual experiences that have come down to us in diaries, autobiographies and oral testimonies.

Heywood argues that there is a cruel paradox at the heart of childhood in the past. On the one hand, material conditions for children have generally improved in the West, however belatedly and unevenly, and they are now more valued than in the past. On the other hand, the business of preparing for adulthood has become more complicated in urban and industrial societies, as the young face a bewildering array of choices and expectations.

A History of Childhood will be an essential introduction to the subject for students of history, the social sciences and cultural studies.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'...Colin Heywood's A History of Childhood is an interesting addition to the growing literature on children.' Children's Geographies

'...A History of Childhood represents a fine achievement and undoubtedly deserves a wide audience. It is an accessible text that is far more than the sum of its parts. This book is to be strongly recommended to anyone with an interest in the history of childhood.' Children's Geographies

'Even-handed, accurate and well-crafted, this admirable survey strikes the right balance: simple enough for a first-year student, sophisticated enough to do justice to the material.' Roy Porter, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine

'A rich and timely account of a subject too long over-simplified by artificial chronologies and generalizations neglectful of economic and cultural diversities. The infinite diversity of experience from the birthing process to the grave, the trials and joys of parenting, changing concepts of what is appropriate and morally fitting are here set in context. The child at school, the child at work, the child as target of parental, church and state concern as well as the child at play and the child making sense of the world about him are all present in these pages.' Professor Olwen Hufton, Merton College, Oxford

"This book is an invaluable addition to students on childhood studies, play, youth work and early years courses who wish to ground their concept of childhood in an historical analysis of the topic." Keith Cranwell, Thurrock College

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745617312
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/31/2001
  • Series: Themes in History Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Colin Heywood is Senior Lecturer in Economic and Social History, University of Nottingham.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. I Changing Conceptions of Childhood 9
1 Conceptions of Childhood in the Middle Ages 11
2 The Quest for a Turning Point 19
3 Some Themes in the Cultural History of Childhood 32
Pt. II Growing up: Relations with Parents and Peers 41
4 Parent - Child Relations: The First Stages 43
5 Caring for Infants? 62
6 Parent - Child Relations during the Second Phase of Childhood 83
7 Relations with Parents and the Peer Group during the Third Phase of Childhood 103
Pt. III Children in a Wider World 119
8 Children at Work 121
9 Investing in the Future: Health and Education 145
Conclusion 170
Notes 172
Select Bibliography 217
Index 228
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)