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Download Kids' Stuff: Toys and the Changing World of American Childhood epub

by Gary Cross

To sort out who's who and what's what in the enchanting, vexing world of Barbies® and Ninja Turtles®, Tinkertoys® and teddy bears, is to begin to see what's become of childhood in America. It is this changing world, and what it unveils about our values, that Gary Cross explores in Kids' Stuff, a revealing look into the meaning of American toys through this century.

Early in the 1900s toys reflected parents' ideas about children and their futures. Erector sets introduced boys to a realm of business and technology, while baby dolls anticipated motherhood and building blocks honed the fine motor skills of the youngest children. Kids' Stuff chronicles the transformation that occurred as the interests and intentions of parents, children, and the toy industry gradually diverged--starting in the 1930s when toymakers, marketing playthings inspired by popular favorites like Shirley Temple and Buck Rogers, began to appeal directly to the young. TV advertising, blockbuster films like Star Wars®, and Saturday morning cartoons exploited their youthful audience in new and audacious ways. Meanwhile, powerful social and economic forces were transforming the nature of play in American society. Cross offers a richly textured account of a culture in which erector sets and baby dolls are no longer alone in preparing children for the future, and in which the toys that now crowd the racks are as perplexing for parents as they are beguiling for little boys and girls. Whether we want our children to be high achievers in a competitive world or playful and free from the worries of adult life, the toy store confronts us with many choices.

What does the endless array of action figures and fashion dolls mean? Are children--or parents--the dupes of the film, television, and toy industries, with their latest fads and fantasies? What does this say about our time, and what does it bode for our future? Tapping a vein of rich cultural history, Kids' Stuff exposes the serious business behind a century of playthings.

Download Kids' Stuff: Toys and the Changing World of American Childhood epub
ISBN: 067450335X
ISBN13: 978-0674503359
Category: History
Subcategory: Americas
Author: Gary Cross
Language: English
Publisher: Harvard University Press; Revised ed. edition (November 15, 1999)
Pages: 352 pages
ePUB size: 1661 kb
FB2 size: 1421 kb
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 404
Other Formats: txt docx mbr lrf

Great book for a childhood studies person. Author kind of contradicts himself in the end of the last chapter conclusions but still a nice source for papers for sure
This is a book about toys that nicely balances an historical analysis of mass-manufactured toys and their appeals to children, with a look at current toys and their appeals. Mr. Cross has a unerring eye for what toys say about past and current culture. While he is critical of some of today's toys and the type of play they encourage, such as fantasy violence toys, he is not a public scourge suspecting toy companies of base motivations. Instead, his opinions are considered and grounded in historical observation. Too, he seems to have a soft spot for Marx toys -- those cheap, antic, crazy, tin and plastic toys that spoke to a kid's sense of chaos and anarchy -- in other words, the toys that were the most fun of all!
Ok, it's a book about toys, it should be fun, right? Not with Cross. He takes an interesting topic and rips any shred of joy, wonder, or positive engagement away. It's a boring, lifeless, dispassionate book. The theories are obvious -- girls who play w/ barbies learn to be materialistic women, boys are taught to be "men" by playing with blocks and tools. yawn. Better books out there.