Most helpful critical review
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Some interest, but misleading, biased, and repetitive, too
on October 14, 1998
Small has some interesting bits of info about lots of different cultures. However, while one of her central purposes claims to be to show that cultures are different, therefore no one way of childrearing is superior to all the others, she clearly believes that the San (bushmen) style of childrearing is biologically correct and best.
I find it aggravating, also, that though she claims "traditional" societies are as different from one another as are "modern" ones, she is content to use studies of the San in the 20th century as proof of how all early humans cared for their babies.
One can also see from her own evidence that much of the reason people in "traditional" cultures slept with the baby or carried the baby was for the baby's physical safety, a concern that is far less pressing in our world.
Another very annoying thing she does is present endless "facts" about babies in different cultures without judging the quality of the studies that gleaned those "facts." Were the "facts" learned from a controlled, five year study of 1,000 babies, or were they determined from 15 women observed in a lab for 2 hours? In general, the reader can't tell from Small's account.