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Unequal Childhoods

Class, Race, and Family Life, Second Edition, with an Update a Decade Later
Narrated by: Xe Sands
Length: 14 hrs and 28 mins

Non-member price: $51.25

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Publisher's Summary

Class does make a difference in the lives and futures of American children. Drawing on in-depth observations of black and white middle-class, working-class, and poor families, Unequal Childhoods explores this fact, offering a picture of childhood today. Here are the frenetic families managing their children's hectic schedules of "leisure" activities; and here are families with plenty of time but little economic security. Lareau shows how middle-class parents, whether black or white, engage in a process of "concerted cultivation" designed to draw out children's talents and skills, while working-class and poor families rely on "the accomplishment of natural growth," in which a child's development unfolds spontaneously-as long as basic comfort, food, and shelter are provided.

©2003; revised 2011 Annette Lareau (P)2011 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A fascinating study." (Malcolm Gladwell)

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  • Jared
  • 09-10-2012

Essential reading for everyone

Illustrates the pros and cons of modern parenting strategies, as well as unexpected effects of cultural differences between lower and upper classes. These effects are not the only important factors people should be aware of - whether as parents, policy-makers, or mere voters - but Lareau illustrates why an important part of what Americans broadly accept as true is not actually true.

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  • frank eyenga
  • 25-11-2017

Very informative book

I listened to this book after it was mentioned in the book Outliers by Malcom Gladwell. It makes a good argument for the invisible benefits of social class created by American society despite the contradictions to the core beliefs that make up the "American Dream" . I believe it indirectly shines a light on the "Rich getting richer and poor getting poorer" problem and even why it's been hard for minorities to overcome some of the hurdles to true racial equality.

The book can be dry at certains points but that's hard to avoid when you have a research based non-fictinal book.

Overall it is a good investment regardless of what your opinion may be at the end

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  • H. Berty
  • 18-05-2013


Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No. The data is repetitive and is written with a clear bias. While the information is important, it should be taken in from a different source.

Has Unequal Childhoods turned you off from other books in this genre?

Not at all.

What about Xe Sands’s performance did you like?

She was very easy to understand, reads at a good pace, and has a nice voice to listen to.