A History of Childhood: Children and Childhood in the West from Medieval to Modern Times by Colin Heywood
Heywood argues that there is a cruel paradox at the heart of childhood in the past. On the one hand, material conditions for children have generally improved in the West, however belatedly and unevenly, and they are now more valued than in the past. On the other hand, the business of preparing for adulthood has become more complicated in urban and industrial societies, as the young face a bewildering array of choices and expectations.
A History of Childhood will be an essential introduction to the subject for students of history, the social sciences and cultural studies.