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Banished Knowledge: Facing Childhood Injuries Paperback – September 1, 1991


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Banished Knowledge: Facing Childhood Injuries + The Untouched Key: Tracing Childhood Trauma in Creativity and Destructiveness + The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self, Revised Edition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (September 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385267622
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385267625
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #593,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If, as a child, you were abused or neglected by someone you loved and trusted, it's likely you blamed yourself. To survive as an abused child, you struggled to forget the pain. But this tactic became a life-destroying force. It deadened your ability to feel, to be aware, to remember and, later, reemerged as unresolved rage, perhaps misdirected at your own children. You can halt that cycle and reclaim the truth about the abuse with this book. Miller's conviction--that it's only through feeling loved and cherished that cruelty can be recognized--provides a starting point for healing.

From Library Journal

In her strongest book yet advocating children's rights, Miller ( The Drama of the Gifted Child, The Untouched Key ) charges that psychoanalysis, a field in which she has worked for more than 20 years, perpetuates child abuse because its practitioners consistently deny the wrongs parents commit against their children. Her message is that both psychoanalysts and parents often fail to see abuse for what it is because they fail to comprehend their own childhood traumas. To illustrate her point, Miller draws from stories of child beatings, sexual abuse, and incest, frequently rationalized as forms of discipline and "necessary" sexual initiation. She also analyzes literary works (O'Neill, Kafka, Arthur Miller) that ultimately play down child abuse in the interest of family solidarity. To break destructive patterns, Miller outlines a new method of treatment, which, she says, improved her own life dramatically. Unfortunately, Miller devotes too little discussion to this method in favor of material she has covered in earlier works. Nonetheless, the reader is left with much to consider.
- Michelle Lodge, New York
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

She had the courage, Thank you!
Carolina Madera
This book is a second book by Alice Miller that I have read, with the first being Drama of the Gifted Child.
Zadius Sky
As adults, they generally idealize their abusive childhoods and believe it was done for "their own good."
Payam Ghassemlou

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 23, 1997
Format: Paperback
Several years ago while I was an undergraduate majoring in Mental Health, I read Banished Knowledge. At the time I was also engaged in personal psychotherapy, getting in touch with the traumas of my past. Banished Knowledge was the first book I read that really "put it out there". No glossing over issues, no excuses for errs committed by others, no shiny marketing techniques to make the subject more palatable- Alice Miller just stuck the truth right out there. the book changed my life. Now, after completing a master's degree in counseling, Banished Knowledge is still the book I most reccomend. Not only does Alice Miller eloquently describe what trauma is, but she describes the differnce between blame and accountability when attempting to understand one's perpetrator. At times, the truth is hard, but the victory of understanding one's own wounds is freeing in the end.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Jay Armstrong on March 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
First let me begin by saying that I really have enjoyed and learned from Miller's other works. They have been important text's for those of us not in "practice". So it was with high expectations that I purchased Banished Knowledge. After reading the first couple of chapters, I came to the conclusion that this book was more of a polemical text meant for the psychoanalsyst community then it was for the layperson. By the end of the book I was convinced that this was the case. However, I did find nuggets interspersed throughout the book that made the book at least worth reading if not completely satisfactory. If you are interested in purchasing this book with the expectations of, say, Drama of the Gifted Child just be prepared to find the writing written in a tone that seeks an audience not usually intended for her other works.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
Miller may make some extreme and perhaps unsupportable statements now and then, and don't expect a course in scientific method on every page, but her books lay out how the mind works more clearly and thoroughly than anything else I know of. Trying to understand the child, or the parent, or the mind, or trauma, or yourself without thoroughly digesting Miller is really unthinkable. Other excellent books by Miller include Drama of the Gifted Child (also called "Prisoners of Childhood") [read the original version, currently available only in hardcover] and For Your Own Good. As for other authors, important works on childhood trauma include Making Sense of Suffering by J. Konrad Stettbacher, Betrayal Trauma by Jennifer Freyd, and Soul Murder by Morton Schatzman (don't confuse this latter book with one of the same title by Leonard Schengold). Schatzman's book is inexplicably out of print, but it's worth getting from the library. An excellent, simple, and highly practical book is Toxic Parents by Susan Forward.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Sieglinde Alexander on May 27, 1998
Format: Paperback
If society is seriously interested in declining child abuse it must stop trivializing the fact, read "Banished Knowledge," by Alice Miller, to comprehend the consequences, then proceed and support the need. Then, and only then, will they comprehend that psychologists who try to help are practicing with the limitation of arcane theories, mostly without having personal experience about the subject. In too many cases theories are missing the point and are forcing victims to accept the training of a Ph.D. as salubrious. Two years ago, discouraged and disappointed I ended my twelfth session with a psychologist after she tried different theoretical approaches, when she asked helplessly, "What kind of theory fits you?" In my desperation to relieve the pain of memory I was pressed into obscure methods, declared as the only way or solution. In this kind of approach, again, harm is done. My personal experience with format theories like "one fits all," had lead me to more desperation than healing. Because self censoring psychologists approach child abuse with dogmas, instead of listening for an eventual true lead, they should find individual methods for the painful experience expressed by the victim in a descriptive way. I do not knock the honest attempt of scientific studies, which I trust, someday, will lead to more insight into this human behavior; on the contrary, I urge Psychology to recognize that all scientific approaches are developed by individual minds. In spite of all knowledge available, everything we do has limitations, and the possibilities of errors are influencing the result. We must consider these facts before we imply otherwise and call others wrong.Read more ›
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Kent Ponder on February 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
Any book recommended by my oldest daughter is one I will read, so I not only bought Miller's book as soon as I received my daughter's e-mail, I read it completely the first night. Miller is talented and competent. This book is exceptionally important, and reminds me of errors I made with my own children, but it makes the serious mistake of employing an extremist single-think, no-exceptions presentation. Miller's constant use of "all," "no exceptions," "never," "absolutely none," etc., is a major flaw in thinking, and very unscientific. Obviously, since she hasn't seen all cases, she can't classify all cases. Her writing thus takes on a tone of fanaticism and pseudo-religious faith in her "one true principle" -- her "sole explanation" for all instances -- allowing for no exception.

In addition to the one principle she expounds so well, any psychologist can easily think of other principles, causes and conditions that her single-minded hypothesis ignores.

In sum, though Miller states her single-think point exceptionally well, she ignores or sweeps too much else under the rug.
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