Children at Play: An American History

Children at Play: An American History

Children at Play: An American History

Children at Play: An American History


To followers of Islam, the Qur'an is the literal word of God, revealed through Muhammad, the last of the line of prophets, containing all that is necessary to lead a life of righteousness.

This new bilingual edition, approved by Al-Azhar University, the chief center of Islamic and Arabic learning in the world, offers a comprehensive and accurate rendering of the Qur'an into modern English. The clear, rigorous translation, one of the only English translations available by a native Arabic speaker, is laid out here in dual column format directly opposing the Arabic text to allow the reader to make careful verse by verse comparisons.

• approved by Al-Azhar University, Cairo

• easy-to-read translation into modern English

• index of surahs (chapters)

• English and Arabic headers

• verse numbers within text in English and Arabic

• explanatory footnotes in English


When I was a kid, I broke the child labor laws. Or, rather, my Uncle Jack did. At the age of twelve, I began working twenty hours a week during school vacations in the warehouse of Uncle Jack's business, Mutual Distributing Company, located in Omaha, Nebraska. By the time I was fourteen, I illegally worked full-time, forty-four hours a week, and I continued to do so every summer and at Christmas time through high school and college. Saturday mornings, too, eight o'clock until twelve.

Besides providing a nice income for a teenager, the job had two key effects on me. First, loading and unloading freight, packing and unpacking boxes alongside workingmen who at most had graduated from high school but who had a kind of commonsense wisdom, drew me to the lives of ordinary folk like them and sparked my eventual interest in social history. Second, the experience got me intrigued by the concept of play. Mutual Distributing, you see, was a toy wholesaling business. Uncle Jack bought toys (no bicycles or sporting goods) from manufacturers and sold them to small stores in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, places such as drugstores and corner groceries that kept a limited inventory and had no space to store goods. Big-box establishments, e-trade, and the disappearance of independent retail enterprises have made wholesalers such as Mutual Distributing outmoded today, but in the 1950s and 1960s, Uncle Jack did a good business.

My job in a toy warehouse enabled me to be “present at the creation” of such now-classic playthings as the hula hoop, Frisbee, Barbie, whiffle ball, and more. It was an era before electronics came to dominate toy operations, so most commercial playthings were not complicated or expensive. Unconnected to a story line and unrestricted by inflexible rules or software, most of the toys could be used in both intended and unintended ways. Monopoly money was a necessity to the Parker Brothers game, but it also could serve countless purposes unrelated to the board game. A cap gun could enable its . . .

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