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The Disappearance of Childhood


reviewed by Marvin Lazerson 1983

coverTitle: The Disappearance of Childhood
Author(s): Neil Postman
Publisher: Vintage Books, New York
ISBN: 0679751661, Pages: 177, Year: 1994
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One of the nice things about Neil Postman’s The Disappearance of Childhood is that it recalls our childhood understanding of how the modern world came to be. We all remember Johann Gutenberg, the inventor of the movable-type printing press, which democratized knowledge, propelled the triumph of Protestantism over the medieval Church, aided in the creation of the nation-state, and enhanced individualism and the spread of capitalism. For those of us who became historians, the old school lessons weighed heavily. We came to understand, and tried to teach our students, that listing the effects of the printing press was not the way to comprehend the past; that technological determinism was a poor way to understand the world; that politics and economics, class conflicts, religious commitments, accidents as well as patterns, meant that the machine never stood autonomously, working its way over space and time. Neil Postman tells us we were wrong to be... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 85 Number 1, 1983, p. 147-150
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 897, Date Accessed: 10/19/2017 8:45:47 AM

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About the Author
  • Marvin Lazerson
    University of British Columbia
    MARVIN LAZERSON is professor of education at the University of British Columbia. He is co-author with W. Norton Grubb of Broken Promises: How Americans Fail Their Children. He is president of the History of Education Society.
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