1-1 | Children at Play: An American History

Book Review

Children at Play: An American History

Howard P. Chudacoff
New York: New York University Press, 2007. Photographs, notes, index. ix, 269 pp. $27.95 cloth. ISBN: 9780814716644

by Steven Mintz

First Paragraph:

Richly researched and gracefully written, Children at Play—the first full-length history of American children's play—could scarcely be more timely. There is widespread fear—evident in the popularity of such bestsellers as The Dangerous Book for Boys (2007) and The Daring Book for Girls (2007)—that imaginative, self-initiated play is disappearing from the lives of overscheduled and overprotected twenty-first-century kids. Many worry that violent, sexist video games are isolating and desensitizing children; that the Internet and new media are eroding childhood innocence at too early an age; that aggressive marketers are distorting children's body image and material aspirations; and that a heightened stress on early academic achievement and a test-driven school curriculum have taken the play out of childhood.