Book Review: Tanenhaus, D. S. (2004). Juvenile Justice in the Making. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 231

AuthorIdo Weijers
Date01 March 2008
Published date01 March 2008
Subject MatterArticles
working conditions, products, and environment damage that leads to the predictable deaths
of thousands. These are labeled as murder. That proposition would fly in the face of cen-
turies of Western law.
The underlying implications of each chapter and the associated arguments are that certain
forces in American society benefit from myth perpetuation, and some of those forces are
us. It is in our interests as professors in the field not to challenge these myths. That seems
to be a bit of a leap for me. In the sciences, those who challenge the existing paradigm are
thought to be, generally speaking, explorers. This is “normal science” as Kuhn argued some
time ago. Another critique that seems at least fair is the failure in most, not all, chapters to at
least throw out alternative policy approaches. Some chapters could benefit from additional
references (e.g., recent Keppel articles on serial killers). Finally, some chapters are in conflict.
It cannot be true that there is no monolithic police culture (chapter 10) and that the real
function of police is to control minorities (chapter 9).
This text would work in undergraduate classes, or possibly in an introductory master’s
course, but it would need some balancing in both realms. The writing is very crisp, for the
most part, and I think accessible to most of our students.
Gregory D. Russell
Arkansas State University
Tanenhaus, D. S. (2004). Juvenile Justice in the Making. New York:
Oxford University Press. pp. 231.
DOI: 10.1177/0734016808314525
In Juvenile Justice in the Making, the legal historian, David Tanenhaus, gives a fascinating
description over six chapters of the origins and development of the first juvenile court in
Cook County, Illinois, a century ago. The author, an associate professor of history and the
James E. Roger professor of history and law at the William S. Boyd School of Law of the
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, drew attention to himself with his fine historical contribution
to The Changing Borders of Juvenile Justice, edited by Fagan and Zimring (2000), and as
author and coeditor of the comprehensive reference work, A Century of Juvenile Justice
(2002). For this study, he managed to lay his hands on a large number of files from the first
few decades of Cook County’s juvenile court. Source material like this is a goldmine for
the historian, of course, provided he does not get lost in detail. Tanenhaus has a good nose
for the interesting points though, and he has a clear style of writing and is a gripping nar-
rator. From this unique material, Tanenhaus has managed to serve up to the reader a lively
picture of the vicissitudes associated with the development of this court.
He surprises the reader, or at least the European reader, with a well documented account
of the activities of the court surrounding the granting of what were known as “mothers pen-
sions” under the Funds to Parents Act of 1911, illustrating the fact that the juvenile court was
largely seen as a social welfare institution. For a European perspective, it is interesting to see
that, both in its establishment and activities, this juvenile court was definitely seen as having
a role to play in strengthening families in bringing up children. The Funds to Parents Act gave
108 Criminal Justice Review

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT