Past, present, and personal: the family and the life course in American history

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Oxford University Press, 1986 - History - 215 pages
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The author of a landmark study of Pilgrim family life called A Little Commonwealth and the Bancroft Prizewinning Entertaining Satan here presents a major contribution to the rapidly growing literature on "family history." Ranging over the entire span of American History, this book covers everything from the changing nature of fatherhood the relevance of the past for present-day policy making. Several chapters raise important questions and are sure to arouse controversy. On childhood, for example, Demos challenges the prevalent view that past eras witnessed more "abuse" than our own day. And on adolescence he reconsiders the premise that human development. His discussion of middle age points out sharp contrasts between the colonial period and the present. And his investigation of the much-neglected role of father finds greater change there than in the roles of all other family members combined.
Eschewing the narrow technical focus--and language--of most scholars of the family, be they sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists, of historians, the book explores the subtle interrelations between past and present, between practical and theoretical concerns. Offering fresh insight into a subject of the broadest possible human interest, this vigorous revisionist history will intrigue not only academic specialists, but also practitioners in the "helping professions" and readers of history at large.
About the Author:
John Demos is Professor of History at Yale University and formerly taught at Brandeis University. In addition to his research as a historian, this book draws on Demos's personal experience as a member of the Carnegie Council on Children.

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Past, present, and personal: the family and the life course in American history

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This is a collection of eight essays by Demos, a specialist on the history of the family in colonial America. Essays on the image of the family, fatherhood, adolescence, and middle-age trace changes ... Read full review

Contents

JI Images of the Family Then and Now
24
Old Age in Early New England
139
History and the Formation of Social Policy Toward
186
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About the author (1986)

John Demos is Samuel Knight Professor of History at Yale University. He is the author of Entertaining Satan, winner of the Bancroft Prize, and The Unredeemed Capture

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