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Extended Audio Sample The Disappearance of Childhood, by Neil Postman Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (548 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Neil Postman Narrator: Jeff Riggenbach Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From the vogue for nubile models to the explosion in the juvenile crime rate, this modern classic of social history and media traces the precipitous decline of childhood in America today—and the corresponding threat to the notion of adulthood.

Deftly marshaling a vast array of historical and demographic research, Neil Postman suggests that childhood is a relatively recent invention, which came into being as the new medium of print imposed divisions between children and adults. But now these divisions are eroding under the barrage of television, which turns the adult secrets of sex and violence into popular entertainment and pitches both news and advertising at the intellectual level of ten-year olds. Informative, alarming, and aphoristic, The Disappearance of Childhood is a triumph of history and prophecy.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “No contemporary essayist writing about America…culture is more fun to read.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Postman persuasively mobilizes the insights of psychology, history, semantics, McLuhanology, and common sense on behalf of his astonishing and original thesis.”

    Victor Navasky, professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

  • “[An] astonishing and original thesis.”

    Victor Navasky, professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jush | 2/16/2014

    " This book gives the fascinating history of childhood. Further, he explores the place that the invention of the printing press, literacy, television and beyond play in childhood. He calls for parents to raise an elite group of children who can read! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Stacey | 2/16/2014

    " Okay, I don't know why this book got so many good reviews. I think the thesis is interesting, but I just think he's plain old WRONG. He bases childhood on the development of the printing press. He says that the inability for children to read has allowed children to be spared "adult" topics such as sex. He says that the disappearance of childhood is due to the proliferation of media - mostly television, and how television must use horrendous contents such as incest to entertain the public because tv is on all the time, and i just think he's wrong. I couldn't finish the last 80 pages or so. He has sources, but his bibliography seems astonishingly short. His assertions are vague and not backed up by scientific research... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Maggie | 2/13/2014

    " this was an book with interesting ideas that stimulated my thinking and sharpened my observation on current cultural events and whereas i cannot accept in a blanket way either his thesis or the evidence he presents for it nor can i disregard the ideas that he presents. my awareness of what i am seeing and how to understand what might be going on has been seriously sharpened by reading this book. well worth our time in order to clarify what it is we think we are seeing when we look upon the dramatic changes in childhood that is occurring in the twenty-first century. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Theryn Fleming | 2/12/2014

    " In TDoC, Postman posits that childhood (which he defines as age 7-17; under 7 = infants) is a social artifact, not a biological category (I think this is a stretch). Anyway, his point is that prior to widespread literacy, there were no "children" per se because it was impossible to keep adult activities apart from youth. The introduction of print created a secret world that youth ("children") had to earn a right to be a part of by learning to read. Because electronic media don't have the same learning curve, they reverse this child/adult divide. Hence, "the disappearance of childhood." "

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About the Author
Author Neil Postman

Neil Postman (1931–2003) was chairman of the Department of Communication Arts at New York University and founder of its Media Ecology program. He wrote more than twenty books. His son Andrew Postman is the author of five books, and his work appears in numerous publications.