Pub. Date:
Harvard University Press
Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood

Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood

by Steven Mintz


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674015081
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 11/28/2004
Pages: 464
Product dimensions: 6.52(w) x 9.34(h) x 1.45(d)

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.

Table of Contents

1Children of the Covenant7
2Red, White, and Black in Colonial America32
3Sons and Daughters of Liberty53
4Inventing the Middle-Class Child75
5Growing Up in Bondage94
6Childhood Battles of the Civil War118
7Laboring Children133
8Save the Child154
9Children under the Magnifying Glass185
10New to the Promised Land200
11Revolt of Modern Youth213
12Coming of Age in the Great Depression233
13Mobilizing Children for World War II254
14In Pursuit of the Perfect Childhood275
16Parental Panics and the Reshaping of Childhood335
17The Unfinished Century of the Child372

What People are Saying About This

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.

John R. Gillis

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

Paula Fass

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

Marian Wright Edelman

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

Frank F. Furstenberg

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

Linda Gordon

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

Stephanie Coontz

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

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Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Othemts on LibraryThing 24 days ago
This book is an interesting history of the United States from the perspective of children that takes on the myth of the idealized childhood - one enjoyed by precious few children, mostly prosperous and fairly recent. The analogy of Huck's Raft is adept centering on the idyllic childhood adventure yet the raft itself is adrift and unsheltered from the storms raging around it. Mintz's history goes back to the earliest American children among the Puritan's of New England and traces childhood life among the enslaved and working class, the inner city immigrants and the privileged elite. It's amusing to note that commentators over the centuries are always stating that children of the day are more spoiled, more sexually promiscuous, more violent, and less educated (statistically kids these days have actually improved upon their predecessors as far as teen pregnancies, violence, and education despite outcries to the contrary). It's an interesting take on what is really the creation and evolution of childhood as a concept in America and reassuring that there was never really a golden age. If I have any criticism of this book is that Mintz's prose is dry & academic and at times repetitive. Still, an interesting book about the history of a large but generally voiceless part of the populace.Favorite Passages: "But despite popular stereotypes of ghetto pathology, most inner-city residents resist the temptations of crime, drug abuse, or teenage pregnancy. Indeed, inner-city youth drink less, smoke less, and use drugs less than their suburban middle-class counterparts. One factor that has contributed to this pattern is the strength of black mothers, who serve as models and nurturers of strong and independent behavior. Socialization among African Americans historically has not emphasized sex-role dichotomies in the way found among white families, and as a result many young black women, even in the poorest neighborhoods, have higher aspirations for education and a career than many of their white counterparts." - p. 353
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most interesting books on childhood I have ever read. It gave me a deeper understanding of what children endured in the past, how each generation shaped the next, and how we are raising our children today. A must read.