A tame overview of Western childhood that touches all the major bases in passing. The approach is historical, with each period--from ""Early Man"" to ""The Century of the Child""--subdivided to consider such basic questions as education, sexual orientation, corporal punishment, and cultural attitudes. Observations are occasionally clarified and grounded in snatches from writings of the period. After the Victorian era, the European models give way to the promise for children implicit in American emphasis on liberty. The Industrial Revolution, here and in England, stands out as a singularly affecting horror, but the entire history catalogs centuries of abuse now being succeeded by another kind of pressure for children--""possessions and possibilities which they are not equipped to handle."" A light-weight survey course, not unlike an encyclopedia entry.