Second Edition Reviews

Published Reviews

Goodread Reviews

'In his book, The Anthropology of Childhood. Cherubs, Chattel, Changelings, David F. Laney has undertaken the Herculean task of synthesising an impressive expanse of literature from ethnographic, historical, archaeological and other sources to address the study of children and childhood in a cross-cultural and holistic way. He successfully challenges conventional Euro-American wisdom regarding child development and childrearing and draws a much­needed dichotomy between our own culture-bound conception of children as 'precious, inno­cent, and preternaturally cute cherubs' and 'societies, indeed entire periods in history, where children are viewed as unwanted, inconvenient changelings or as desired but pragmatically commoditized chattels'

-Childhood in the Past: An International Journal

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'The book is remarkably well written and readable for the density of the information that it presents. It is well organized, beginning with a twenty-five-page outline of what is to come that is both a wonderful prospectus and an appetizer. He concludes the final chapter with a bullet point summary of the book. Following the summarty, Lancy has an incomparable bibliography of anthropological and other sources on childhood and, finally, author, topic, and society indices.'

-American Journal of PLAY

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'David Lancy, in his book The Anthropology of Childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, and Changelings, takes readers on a tour de force of childhood across the globe and over time. In slightly over 400 pages and 10 chapters, Lancy presents thousands of observations from hundreds of cultures, present and past, describing the many facets of childhood, from infancy through adolescence.'

-American Journal of Psychology

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‘David Lancy’s The Anthropology of Childhood was essential the moment it appeared; the second edition is even better! He has digested the survey material even more, used updated materials, and held back less on his criticism of contemporary Euro-American childrearing.’

-Susan D. Blum, University of Notre Dame


‘[T]he most comprehensive, and perhaps only, review of the human child in terms of evolutionary biology and sociocultural anthropology. Based on the best of theory and field ethnography, it is essential for any study of human development and human nature.’

-Barry Bogin, Loughborough University


‘The scholarship in this book is incredibly sound and thorough in breadth and scope.’

-Rebecca Zarger, University of South Florida


‘If I were to assign just one book as required reading for students of child psychology, this would be it. It opens our all-too-parochial eyes to childhood’s possibilities.’

-Peter Gray, Boston College


‘[A] valuable forum to better understand childhood as a rapidly growing sub-field of anthropology.’

-Akira Takada, Kyoto University


‘[T]his revised version of the volume is very welcome, providing students, teachers and generalists who are interested in the subject with a broad overview of the anthropology of childhood, supported by a comprehensive and helpfully interdisciplinary bibliography.’

-Sally Crawford FSA, The University of Oxford