3-3 | The Evolution of Childhood: Relationships, Emotion, and Mind

Book Review

The Evolution of Childhood: Relationships, Emotion, and Mind

Melvin Konner
Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press. 2010. Contents, references. 943 pp. $39.95 paper. ISBN: 9780674045668

by John Bock

First Paragraph:

A volume culminating a distinguished career is a rare event. Enter Melvin Konner, whose The Evolution of Childhood: Relationships, Emotion, and Mind represents a synthesis of his four decades studying childhood. Konner attempts to provide a comprehensive picture of childhood from phylogenetic origins through the development of the child as a cultural being. The book both benefits and suffers from Konner’s efforts to expand the scope of the work beyond the traditional child-development perspective. He introduces and explains alternative and competing theoretical frameworks with mixed results. The overall effect leaves the reader wondering if this very large book consists of several smaller, more focused books trying to express themselves.