THE OPTIMISTIC TRADITION AND AMERICAN YOUTH by El Glazberg

THE OPTIMISTIC TRADITION AND AMERICAN YOUTH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Tracing this peculiarly American tradition from the early settlers through the frontier period and immigration waves, Mr. Ginzberg examines its effects and limitations with respect to modern youth. He simply states the special problems confronting young people, their parents, and their teachers, in an age when change is accepted as progress without, apparently, having given a thought to what to do about these problems. The closest he ever comes to constructive suggestion is: ""The ability of Americans to choose intelligently among competing experts will, in the last analysis, depend on the extent to which their education provides them with a critical sense."" He offers the oftlamented proposition that it is not lack of opportunities but lack of incentive and the distractions of immediate gain (marriage, money now) which prevents youth from reaching its more idealistic goals. Further, he bluntly doubts that, were there more opportunities, there would be anyone to want them. While he observes that young women spend their time looking for husbands (""with good reason""), he offers no solution to the matter of all that wasted trained intellect where there is such a crying need for it in so many fields. At its most ambitions, the book points up the sad fact that, even in this best of all possible nations, not enough money and talent are appropriated for education and guidance.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1962
Publisher: Columbia University Press