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Dr. Young, whose child-caseworker competence and thoroughness has been exercised with such compassion and bright intuition in Wednesday's Child, (1964) and Life Among the Giants (1966) now takes on the three generations in an effort to cope with the contemporary family in transition. This book began as a study of grandparents but Young soon realized that the oldest generation ""could not be understood outside the context of the changes in the family as a whole."" Certainly there have been recent and continuing alterations in the American family -- loss of roots due to mobility and separation of parents and children; misunderstandings due to youth's increasingly blunt forms of communication and the elders' habits of reticence and nuance; and the erosion of traditional parental roles and concomitant responsibilities. One oddly moving symptom is the fear expressed by both grandparents and middle-aged parents of eventual dependency on children, now not a right but a charity, although ""the fear of dependency contradicts their longing for it."" In fact all Dr. Young's research highlights the inference that ""We've lost family closeness but we haven't lost the needs it met."" Given the present state of the family and society, there is no turning back, but Dr. Young makes a good case for an extended family of small concerned communities which practice what we all preach -- concern for all members, the ""paternal"" values of justice and responsibility, the ""maternal"" values of tenderness and caring. You've heard some of these findings and prognoses before -- but Dr. Young writes simply and with the authority of one who listens before leaping.

Pub Date: Aug. 6th, 1973
Publisher: McGraw-Hill