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Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemicby James Gilligan
Synopses & Reviews
In this groundbreaking book, James Gilligan examines the epidemic foremost in the minds of most Americans — violence. As the former director of mental health at a hospital for the criminally insane, Gilligan worked with intractably violent criminals and succeeded in drastically reducing the prison's excessive crime rate.
As he tells the stories of the men he treated, Gilligan traces the devastating links between violence and shame. He shows how that deadly emotion drives people to destroy others and even themselves rather than suffer a loss of self-respect, thereby explaining why the standard responses to violence are doomed to failure. Gilligan makes his case with such authority and compassion that his book is likely to shape a generation of social policy makers as well as touch any reader who has ever been affected, directly or indirectly, by violence.
Drawing on firsthand experience as a prison psychiatrist, his own family history, and literature, Gilligan unveils the motives of men who commit horrifying crimes, men who will not only kill others but destroy themselves rather than suffer a loss of self-respect. With devastating clarity, Gilligan traces the role that shame plays in the etiology of murder and explains why our present penal system only exacerbates it. Brilliantly argued, harrowing in its portraits of the walking dead, Violence should be read by anyone concerned with this national epidemic and its widespread consequences.
"Extraordinary. Gilligan's recommendations concerning what does work to prevent violence...are extremely convincing...A wise and careful, enormously instructive book."--Owen Renik, M.D., editor, Psychoanalytic Quarterly
Includes bibliographical references (p. 269-294) and index.
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