Virtually all discussions of the problematic character of youth and society in twentieth-century Germany begin with the middle class Wandervogel and end with the Hitler Youth. In this revisionist study Derek S. Linton argues that youth emerged as an important social problem around 1900 without any reference to the Wandervogel. Instead, fears of socialism, urban disorder, mass culture, and youthful independence prompted liberal social reformers to constitute young workers as a social problem. Linton traces the 'natural history' of this social problem from recognition to institutional reform. He especially explores such institutions as mandatory evening vocational schools and adult sponsored youth clubs designed to integrate young workers into Wilhelmine society. Based on his analysis of youth reform, Linton ends by discussing some of the debates between historians over the reformability of Imperial Germany and relations between the Empire and the Nazi regime.
"...in rescuing the youth savers from obscurity, Derek Linton has served notice of a powerful and welcome new presence in the German historical community." Central European History "This well written, solidly researched study focuses on the experience of the industrial continuation schools, the Protestant, Catholic and Socialist youth clubs, and the militarization of 'youth salvation' efforts that occured after the state's Youth Cultivation Decree and the founding of the Young German League in 1911." American Historical Review "...a thoroughly researched and well-written reconstruction of the origins, evolution, and consequences of a multisided campaign to save young workers that began in late nineteenth-century Germany." Donna Harsch, History of Education Quarterly "Tightly organized and well argued, Linton's monograph is highly successful in filling the gap in our understanding of the perceived 'youth problem' in the Kaiserreich (as opposed to the now better-studied Weimar era)...This is an excellent and highly useful study." Belinda Davis, Journal of Modern History