Children now make up forty per cent of the world's population. The bestseller charts would suggest that we savour stories of unhappy upbringings - are in fact greedy for them, the worse the better - but in today's ASBO-afflicted Britain, it is clear that there is much we don't understand about contemporary childhood. Children today are the focus of much of society's anxieties: about behaviour, nutrition, sexuality, consumerism, achievement, responsibility, about what exactly is the proper shape of a life. But, how does it really feel to be growing up today, from the inside? This extraordinary book tracks ten very different children between the ages of two and sixteen, each chosen for how they illuminate a particular archetype of childhood experience, or an especial locus of adult anxiety. Woven through each chapter are trips into more discursive territory, but essentially, this is childhood told from the inside: a travel book about a state of being, telling the story of contemporary childhood with the help of those who still reside there. "Childhood" is a truly remarkable piece of writing that unearths many unusual truths about adulthood too.