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Prisoners Of Hate [Kindle Edition]

Aaron T. Beck M.D.
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

World-renowned psychiatrist Dr.Aaron T. Beck, widely hailed as the father of cognitive therapy, presents a revolutionary and eye-opening look at destructive behavoir in Prisoners of Hate.  He applied his established principles on the relationships bewteen thinking processes and the emotional and behavoiral  expressions to the dark side of humanity.  In fascinating detail, he demonstrates that basic components of destructive behavoir-domestic abuse, bigotry, genocide, and war-share common patterns with everyday frustrations in our lives.  A book that will radically alter our thinking on violence in all its forms, Prisoners of Hate, provides a solid framework for remedying these crucial problems.


Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Noted as the founder of cognitive psychotherapy, Beck (emeritus, Pennsylvania State Univ.) here applies his work to greater social problems, from domestic violence to bigotry, crime, and war. Focusing on involuntary and usually unnoticed thought patterns, Beck's therapy emphasizes relearning. He wants patientsAand, now, everyone from gang members to world leadersAto examine their cognitions rationally with a view to decreasing hostility. Beck's approach is so sweeping that economic, geographic, and racial issues all can be subsumed under it, and he makes a strong case. However, he oversimplifies when he argues that anger, hate, and hostility are the same whether the conflict is between spouses or nations. Unfortunately, he gives short shrift to the constructive aspects of anger and chooses to ignore the psychology of nonviolence, though his approach is consistent with Gandhi's and King's. Still, Beck's broad scope; valuable summaries on prejudice, altruism, and political psychology; and optimistic, humane, and rational treatment of a vital subject recommend this for lay and professional readers.AE. James Lieberman, George Washington Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

A reflective consideration of the dysfunctional thinking that results in acts ranging from verbal abuse on the personal level to mass murder on the societal level, as well as suggestions for remedying these problems. Known as the father of cognitive therapy, Beck, professor emeritus of psychology at the Univ. of Penn. School of Medicine, finds parallels between violent reactions of troubled individuals to presumed wrongs, bombings by extremist militant groups, and acts of genocide perpetrated by states. In his psychotherapeutic work with patients, he observed a pattern of thinking that he describes as ``hostile framing,'' that is, perceiving the person one is in conflict with as dangerous and evil and the self as right and good. Such thinking locks the mind in a ``prison of hate'' in which a false image is mistaken for the real person. Beck calls such cognitive distortion ``primal thinking'' because it occurs in the earliest stage of information processing and also in the early developmental stage of children. When primal thinking pigeonholes adversaries as evil, even subhuman, creatures who deserve to be punished, the moral code against killing is weakened. Beck demonstrates how such cognitive errors have led to wife-beating, group rape, the Salem witch trials, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Holocaust, and genocide in Cambodia, Turkey, and the Soviet Union. The cognitive distortions that led to WWI get special attention. There is hope, however, says Beck, who argues that war is not inevitable and asserts that humans have an innate capacity for altruistic behavior to override hostile tendencies and for rational thinking to correct cognitive distortions. He argues that an understanding of individual psychology can provide the tools for developing corrective political and social programs, and he describes how these might operate in preventing child and spousal abuse, juvenile delinquency, and ethnopolitical violence. A provocative and most timely report in this era of ethnic cleansing abroad and high school shootings at home. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 837 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0060932007
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; 1 edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005586XEO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #410,597 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The evil that we do: more understandable than ever January 14, 2000
The simple idea that the way we think about something determines how we feel about it, and how we act on it. Widely considered the father of modern cognitive therapy, Dr. Beck didn't invent this idea, nor is he the only one promoting it. Yet his expression of it, especially in this fine book, is elegant and compelling. There are many powerful and immediately recognizable examples from daily life, showing how we turn hurt into anger into hatred. How our beliefs and thinking patterns gradually imprison us in cages of reactivity. This book helps make our capacity for both good and evil more understandable. Readers of this book who want a more complete understanding of the topics would probably also benefit from a number of the books talking about the evolutionary and physiological origins of violence. Yet, for the part of our dark nature that we have some ability to control, this book makes a powerful and promising statement, and is complete unto itself.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling explanation of origins of hate September 14, 2001
By Phil
Beck credibly explains and illustrates the origins of hatred acted out by both individuals and groups. While the underlying elements show remarkable similarity, group and leader dynamics, of course, enter into hate by groups. I do agree with another reviewer who commented that Beck produces few new explanations of hatred and the resulting behaviors.
The book, however, easily kept my interest and used many examples to beautifully illustrate the process that Beck explains. And he does provide some direction for helping to combat anger, hostility, and violence.
Anyone interested in this book may benefit from the following notes that I made:
1. I would like to have seen some information about the duration of the benefits from the cognitive studies that Beck refers to.
2. If you're looking for credible evidence to support a belief (that I would love to have) that we're likely to find ways to significantly prevent or eradicate hate by groups of people, you won't find it in this book.
3. While Beck provides thorough explanations of anger, hostility, and violence, you'll find far more useful tools to combat these patterns in both David Burns' "Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy" (Burns has worked with Beck for more than 15 years) and Albert Ellis' classic "A Guide to Rational Living."
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ideas of cognitive therapy/psychology in practice October 4, 1999
By A Customer
Beck does a fine job of demonstrating and applying the basic ideas of his therapy to realistic situations that are much too prevalent in America, let alone the world (currently and as history). Beck explores hatred, the making of hatred -- sponsored by societies or governments, and the results of the hatred. The analysis is poignant and acute. Probably the theme of the book can be summed up as "humans find it easier to hate than to love". Some of the historical analysis was tedious, although historians may not find it so. Beck leaves us with a hopeful note, although looking at the state of the world, I am doubtful about optimism. This is an important book for anyone wishing to understand how the mind works in the respect that the mind influences the actions, which produce the tragedies or triumphs. It is important as well for any person in our society who finds themselves hating, whether it be towards a race, a gender, or an individual. Understanding one's hatred is a step towards freeing oneself to lead a happier existence. Looking at hatred in a global sense leads to understanding just how and why men and women can be made to create suffering. For more info, I recommend the Biology of Violence by Niehoff.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Overflowing with information about cognitive therapy, the book also focuses on negative emotions and behavior. Psychologists don't often take their knowledge to the scale Beck does, integrating theory and practice into a view of the world as it is right now -- a world that isn't in very good shape. The path to learned hatred is explained, with numerous examples to help one assimilate the ideas. Anger, peer groups, etc., are handled in detail, and the only lack is a more biological perspective, but that can be found in such books like the Biology of Violence (Niehoff). A fine book, worth reading.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I expected more July 6, 2001
What could be more interesting than a book on violence written by the world's leading psychiatrist? That's what I was thinking when I bought the book. Although Beck made some interesting points, very few were original points that I wasn't already familiar with. The book is a slow read and only moderately interesting. For a much more interesting account of violence, read James Gilligan's book VIOLENCE: REFLECTIONS ON A NATIONAL EPIDEMIC.
Lee J. Markowitz, Ph.D. student in clinical psychology
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4.0 out of 5 stars Appropriate for today August 2, 2013
By Joyce
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Beck's Cognitive Therapy is a kind of mindfulness that asks one to be aware of subtle thoughts that occur before one reacts to an event or encounter. It calls for recognizing and articulating one's claims, demands, and expectations as a way of discovering the roots of emotions and actions. This book is very appropriate today because Beck not only discusses violence in intimate relationships but collective violence, including the images and misperceptions in war. Beck says: "When people are in an aroused state-for example, the hostile mode-their thinking reverts to the level of a young child. If another person appears to run roughshod over their needs, they relive the old drama: the other person is wrong and bad and is knowingly mistreating me. As a participant in a group, the individual perceives a similar theme in response to a challenge to the group. The members of his group are innocent victims, and the challengers are wrong, bad, and immoral. And as in the medieval morality plays, the sinners must be punished. A similar kind of thinking becomes pervasive throughout a nation when it is infected with war fever." He emphasizes the need to understand the thinking of the aggressor when deciding upon responses; to broaden our perspective to see "alien" people as human, like ourselves; to recognize that biases exist on both sides. In times of conflict, we need to remember that empathy, cooperation, and reason are just as intrinsic to human nature as hostility and violence. Beck uses many historical examples to make his points clear in this thoughtful book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Too many people are like this
Published 3 months ago by Larry S
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
I never ordered this item
Published 4 months ago by Keith Dallmer
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, powerful read
I struggled to understand why I was being abused by my husband. Why was I abused for 10 years? What fueled this? Read more
Published 19 months ago by GennM
5.0 out of 5 stars Prisoners of Hate
Excellent book. Delivered promptly and in perfect condition. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand how a once adaptive behavior is now so destructive
Published 21 months ago by Tony Praskin
4.0 out of 5 stars a friend raved about this
This book is very content dense, and he has alot to say, with some necessary repetition. I wish he had a bullet list in the back, where the concepts were reduced to something... Read more
Published 23 months ago by dixiemuse
5.0 out of 5 stars Hate
Good for everyone who takes mental illnes seriously and wants to be professional with their patient's who have this disorder.
Published on November 24, 2012 by Miss Linda O
1.0 out of 5 stars Had Some Problems With This Book
The author discusses (p.182-3) the psychological factors that led to the Holocaust, but he does not mention Stanley Milgram's "Obedience To Authority" experiments/explanation,... Read more
Published on January 25, 2010 by Paul Couillard
4.0 out of 5 stars Micro and Macro Effects of Hate
Very good book with respect to personal struggles resulting from hate. The Macro issues of nation against nation, while informative, were not the reason I purchased the book.
Published on January 3, 2007 by JGB
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