Thanks to everyone who has read, bought or commented on Juvenile Nation.

Juvenile Nation is now out in paperback! The book is one of the first attempts at using a history-of-emotions approach in the history of childhood and the history of Britain and Empire. I am delighted it has been finding a responsive readership since it was first published in 2014.


From the Bloomsbury website:

Table Of Contents

Chapter 1: Stakeholders of Youth
Chapter 2: Moral and Emotional Consensus
Chapter 3: Domestic Bliss? Husband, Wife and Home
Chapter 4: The Child: Father to the Man?
Chapter 5: Re-casting Imperial Masculinity: Informal Education and the Empire of Domesticity
Chapter 6: Storm and Stress: The ‘Invention’ of Adolescence



“Olsen’s astute, meticulously documented, and compelling account of the emergence of modern boyhood and adolescence illuminates aspects of fin-de-siécle British society that have been overlooked. It is a wonderful addition to a growing literature on youth and masculinity.” –  Joanna Bourke, Birkbeck, University of London, American Historical Review

About Juvenile Nation

In the first five months of the Great War, one million men volunteered to fight. Yet by the end of 1915, the British government realized that conscription would be required. Why did so many enlist, and conversely, why so few? Focusing on analyses of widely felt emotions related to moral and domestic duty, Juvenile Nation broaches these questions in new ways.

Juvenile Nation
examines how religious and secular youth groups, the juvenile periodical press, and a burgeoning new group of child psychologists, social workers and other ‘experts’ affected society’s perception of a new problem character, the ‘adolescent’. By what means should this character be turned into a ‘fit’ citizen? Considering qualities such as loyalty, character, temperance, manliness, fatherhood, and piety, Stephanie Olsen discusses the idea of an ‘informal education’, focused on building character through emotional control, and how this education was seen as key to shaping the future citizenry of Britain and the Empire.

Juvenile Nation recasts the militarism of the 1880s onwards as part of an emotional outpouring based on association to family, to community and to Christian cultural continuity. Significantly, the same emotional responses explain why so many men turned away from active militarism, with duty to family and community perhaps thought to have been best carried out at home. By linking the historical study of the emotions with an examination of the individual’s place in society, Olsen provides an important new insight on how a generation of young men was formed.

– See more at:


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