By Janet Golden
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What would you guess most influenced the history of the United States between the late 1800’s and the 1960’s? Was it World War I and II, or the Model T or maybe the introduction of mass production? Have you ever thought that maybe babies made us modern and our quest to keep them healthy and happy was the biggest influence of all?
Placing babies’ lives at the center of her narrative, historian Janet Golden analyzes the dramatic transformations in the lives of American babies during the twentieth century. She examines how babies shaped American society and culture and led their families into the modern world to become more accepting of scientific medicine, active consumers, open to new theories of human psychological development, and welcoming of government advice and programs. Dr. Golden used diaries, newspapers, radio scripts and baby books as research material so the stories are a genuine glimpse into the real struggles families faced during this time.
Golden connects the reduction in infant mortality to the increasing privatization of American lives. She also examines the influence of cultural traditions and religious practices upon the diversity of infant lives, exploring the ways class, race, region, gender, and community shaped life in the nursery and household.
As Golden demonstrates, shifting attitudes toward babies radically reshaped medical practice, consumer spending, governmental policy, and public understanding of human development – even as large numbers of infants continued to grow up in poverty and without adequate care or stimulation.
This is an interesting book about how our evolving view of infancy changed our world. It would be ideally suited for those interested in both history and child development. Buy the book here!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Janet Golden, Ph.D. is Professor of History at Rutgers University where she specializes in the history of medicine, history of childhood, women’s history and American social history. She is the author or editor of nine books. She co-edits the Critical Issues in Health and Medicine Series at Rutgers University Press and the Philadelphia Inquirer’s public health blog “The Public’s Health.” Her work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Institutes of Health, and the Commonwealth Fund, among others.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER – JEANETTE PERKINS
Jeanette Perkins is the grandmother of two adorable grandsons. She lives in beautiful St Pete Beach, FL. Jeanette is a new product reviewer for GRAND and is looking forward to reviewing lots of new and useful products for all us grandparents.