For years, designers, educators, and community administrators have clamored for a book that will highlight the problems with contemporary playgrounds, tender sorely neded strategies with which to redress them, and stimulate national debate about today's crisis of undervalued public space. Susan Solomon's groundbreaking and marvelously illustrated AMERICAN PLAYGROUNDS is that book. since the 1970s, Solomon maintains, American playgrounds have degenerated into irrelevance as cultural artifacts and educational tools. Imbedded in Solomon's text is a frank indictment of American attitudes that are stunted by a heavy-handed emphasis on safety that limits the nature of play and the vitality of places for public assembly. A compelling history, a manifesto, and a manual for change.