Although no longer actively engaged in that component of pediatrics broadly conceived as parent education, I continue to be driven compulsively to inspect every shelf of childcare books in each bookstore I enter. I justify such perusing as "keeping up to date." Yet, in fact, this is a good way of assessing social change.
Even a casual glance at these books impresses one with their great number (30 at last count in some stores), their variety in title, size, and format, and their similarity of aim, "to help parents raise healthy and happy children." The latter seems to be a worthy goal, and I have no doubt that the best of them have helped improve the physical health of many children and have made their care easier, yet the pursuit of happiness seems as elusive as ever.
I recall that in the 1920s and 1930s, there was one best-seller, L.