Raised in Captivity: Why Does America Fail It's Children?

Lucia Hodgson, Author Graywolf Press $23.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-55597-261-5
Child activist Hodgson considers childhood ""a disadvantaged social and political status for all people under eighteen."" Americans may claim to treasure children, but in reality, she says, the best interests of young people are routinely ignored in favor of adult rights. Using high-profile cases such as Baby Jessica, Susan Smith and the Menendez brothers as starting points, she examines the numerous forces in society that harm children, from physical and sexual abuse to television commercials. Hodgson says she focused on popular culture in order to reach as wide an audience as possible, and she has a jargon-free style. That said, her arguments are still unlikely to find broad support. She describes family structure as ""inherently dangerous,"" since it favors parents' authority over children's autonomy. She puts forward some ideas that are not only dubious but also half-baked: she gives no thought to the huge bureaucratic nightmare that would plague parental screening or of where children would go if they were allowed to ""divorce"" their parents. Other arguments and research are equally fuzzy and while Hodgson makes a point of keeping herself above the political fray, dismissing the views of both the ""liberal"" media and conservative politicians, she also oversimplifies both sides. Ultimately, this book discusses problems that we all know too well, without offering realistic solutions. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
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