Four Reviews

Following are some short reviews I just finished up. Each book or article is about young people, and I enjoyed each piece that follows. Let me know what YOU think…

Review of “Beyond ephebiphobia: problem adults or problem youths? (fear of adolescents)” by Kirk A. Astroth.

Astroth provides a clear, easy-to-grasp analysis of ephebiphobia, offering readers an accessible way of understanding the criminalization of youth, the abandonment of the public good, and why we don’t see young people as the future anymore. Rather, we see them as a dead end. Astroth paints a grim picture of why that happens, and challenges us to envision anew the roles of young people in society. A follow-up read might be Childhood (Key Ideas) by Jenks.

The Giroux Reader (Cultural Politics and the Promise of Democracy) by Henry A. Giroux.

Giroux is renowned for his analysis of society, particularly focusing on youth, commercialism, and hypocrisy. This collection of Giroux’s writing illustrates the breadth and depth of his analysis in all those areas, and more. I learned about neoliberalism and the corporate grip on American youth; the societal abandonment of youth and the social divestment in the future, and; the wholesale disenfranchisement of the American public in the face of capitalistic greed and personal opportunism. Giroux is like the town crier challenging us to get out of bed to go fight the fire on “that” side of town. If we don’t it’ll burn our house down – oh, wait – it already is.

Beyond Resistance! Youth Activism and Community Change: New Democratic Possibilities for Practice and Policy for America’s Youth by Shawn Ginwright

For youth workers with a preconceived notion about the roles of young people in society, this collection may be challenging. For teachers who think they know the power of students, Ginwright may be shocking. For young people who think they understanding “the movement”, this book may be eye-opening. Ginwright collects dozens of the best examples of youth-led and youth-driven activism and refines them to their finest points, charging the reader to do more than complain about apathy or revel in cynicism. He leaves us no choice other than getting up to do something. Thanks Shawn – we need that. This book is an incredible read for anyone interested in the movement at any level. Before this book the reader might want to see Global Uprising : Confronting the Tyrannies of the 21st Century : Stories from a New Generation of Activists; after it you might want to reference Future 500: Youth Organizing and Activism in the United States.

Childhood (Key Ideas) by Chris Jenks

In “Childhood” Jenks stabs at the heart of sociology’s obsession with mythology, this time in the form of childhood. By providing a concise, if inaccessible, analysis of why and how sociologists, psychologists, and educators conceive of children, Jenks encourages a critical examination of the assumptions behind many institutions. This book provides necessary support for conversations about youth rights, civic engagement, and the roles of young people throughout society. It is a powerful tool for the determined popular reader, and an introductory lever for the academic. Suggested follow-up reading? Evolving Capacities of the Child by Gerrison Lansdown.

Send me your suggestions for books I should read and/or review… Always looking for more fodder? Check out The Freechild Project Reading List at http://www.freechild.org/ReadingList/ for books and articles surrounding DOZENS of youth topics!

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