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Colin Heywood's classic account of childhood from the early Middle Ages to the First World War combines a long-run historical perspective with a broad geographical spread. This new, comprehensively updated edition incorporates the findings of the most recent research, and in particular revises and expands the sections on theoretical developments in the 'new social studies of childhood', on medieval conceptions of the child, on parenting and on children’s literature. Rather than merely narrating their experiences from the perspectives of adults, Heywood incorporates children’s testimonies, 'looking up' as well as 'down'. Paying careful attention to elements of continuity as well as change, he tells a story of astonishing material improvement for the lives of children in advanced societies, while showing how the business of preparing for adulthood became more and more complicated and fraught with emotional difficulties. Rich with evocative details of everyday life, and providing the most concise and readable synthesis of the literature available, Heywood's book will be indispensable to all those interested in the study of childhood.