A sweeping overview of the institutions, programs, and social trends that affect how America's children grow up. President of the Carnegie Corporation, Hamburg has impressively broad credentials, including research and teaching stints at the National Institutes of Health, Stanford, and Harvard. And although the material he presents here is not new, its array of facts and statistics throws fresh light on the problems--and possible solutions--facing children, their families, and their schools. The 20th-century transformation of families, the workplace, and the community is seen as both revolution and evolution (although it seems to be an evolution stalled in class conflict). Hamburg concentrates on early childhood and early adolescence, the ages when, he believes, children are most vulnerable. Good health, he says, is a major factor in proper development; poor children suffer from the moment of conception onward because of inadequate prenatal care. The next major factor is adequate child care. Today, more than half of US households have both parents working full-time, and the number is growing. A society that ignores the implications of these numbers, Hamburg argues, saddles itself with clay care that is merely ""safe storage"" and with latch-key children whose only recourse is TV. The author points out that adolescents begin as early as sixth grade to deal with drug abuse, including alcohol and cigarettes, and with pregnancy and serious injury or death from accidents; they find the greatest difficulty in the transition from elementary to junior-high school. Only a blending of government, school, community, and family resources can provide support for American children as they grow up, Hamburg says, citing the dozens of successful pioneering programs that work toward that blending. A solidly researched, nonconfrontational analysis that presents the facts and holds up solutions as a challenge to our democratic society.