"You know more than you think you do."
Benjamin Spock (1903–98)
"Trust Yourself," says the first chapter heading of the late Benjamin Spock's classic, Baby and Child Care, by far the best-selling child-rearing manual of all time. His advice, in a nutshell, was that parents know their own children best and should act accordingly - a revolutionary notion in an era when doctors and other child-care professionals occupied positions of virtually unimpeachable authority. In the years following World War II, the book quickly became the parenting bible, and remained an authoritative volume for the grown-up baby boomers and later their children, the parents of today. Drawing on Spock's background as a pediatrician and his six years studying psychoanalysis, the book challenged the traditional split between physical and mental health, slipping a pinch of Freud and healthy dollops of common sense in with the booster shots. A tireless political activist in later years, Spock repeatedly staked his reputation on the inseparability of pediatrics, politics, and peace.