Book Review

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Book Review

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For many scholars, including the Canadian historian Tamara Myers, juvenile justice is an oxymoron. “The juvenile court,” according to Myers, “was a disciplinary instrument used to maintain and uphold the subordination of adolescent girls within a patriarchal family structure that was undergoing dramatic change.” Her nuanced argument builds on Anthony M. Platt’s The Child Savers: The Invention of Delinquency (1969), which claimed that the creation of the juvenile court expanded the state’s power over working-class children and their families. Her findings also support and extend a major theme in subsequent scholarship that emphasizes the role of parents in bringing their daughters to court. Myers presents a complicated history of negotiations among state actors, parents, children, private associations, volunteers and professionals, and politics. Her approach also crosses national borders to offer an international history of a local court.

Publication Citation

114 Am. Hist. Rev. 1061 (2009) (reviewing Tamara Myers, Caught: Montreal's Modern Girls and the Law, 1869-1945 (2006)).