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The Truth Will Set You Free Paperback – December 10, 2002

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The Truth Will Set You Free + The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self, Revised Edition + The Body Never Lies: The Lingering Effects of Hurtful Parenting
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With the premise that abuse begets abuse, the famed Swiss psychoanalyst mounts an eloquent argument against all forms of cruelty to children, especially corporal punishment. Believing that "[o]ur bodies retain a complete memory of the humiliations we suffered, driving us to inflict unconsciously on the next generation what we endured in childhood," she argues that childhood trauma is also manifest in many physical ailments, urging doctors to take "childhood reality" into account during treatment. However, frequent references to her other books, notably the bestselling The Drama of the Gifted Child and For Your Own Good give this slim book an air of preaching to the converted. Miller reiterates her distrust of "sadism sanctioned by religions" from Islam to U.S. Christian schools, and of behaviors that range from genital mutilation and circumcision to corporal punishment. She reserves particular concern for the Catholic Church's failure to outlaw beatings in European schools. Among her most intriguing finding is that children who survive brutality without repeating it generally have enjoyed the affection of a "Helping Witness" in their lives. Adults, too, can free themselves through rigorous analysis that acknowledges early trauma and confronts one's defense mechanisms and behavior patterns. Some forms of psychotherapy may be useful, Miller believes, but she discounts the value of "relaxation training or meditation." Even "power of love" alone can be overestimated, she says. (Sept.)Forecast: Given Miller's stature, this book will be visible, though the publicity may drive readers to her more seminal works.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Alice Miller has achieved worldwide recognition for her work on the causes and effects of childhood traumas. Her books include The Drama of the Gifted Child, Banished Knowledge, Breaking Down the Wall of Silence, Thou S

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Reprint edition (December 10, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465045855
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465045853
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

120 of 123 people found the following review helpful By It's me on July 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
Alice Miller goes into a facinating and undoubtably true acount on how we are often are own worst enemy. We often poison ourselves with comfortable lies that end up causing more damage than we realize both spiritually and physically.
The Truth will Set you Free, is a wonderful title for the books content. As someone who has been meditating almost daily for the past several years I have grown to develop an awareness of myself that I did not have in earlier years. So I put Alice Miller to the test. After a meditation session I stayed sitting and relaxed and began to think Aloud the following statements pausing for 3 minutes between each one. 1- He was the best father in the world and he loved me very much growing up. 2- My father never loved me and wouldn't have cared if I died. 3- Though he did care and provide, my father was a pathetic man who loved himself much more than he ever loved me. When I said the first two statements, I felt an inner tension in my gut and upper spine. When I claimed the last one the tension released completely. That's because the last statement was the true one, regardless of how hard it might be to admit. But such tension is subtle and not detectable by most people at first. Alice Miller states that we often take the lies told to us by society and family and embody them, but our bodies/subconscious CANNOT be lied to. And our bodies carry around the toxic lie until finally we find ourselves getting sick. Facing truth may hard for your mind to bear initially, but it's the only thing that alleviates pain in the soul and body in the long run. The only problem I have with this book it offers almost no practical guideline as to what someone can DO to get to the truth. It mentions therapy briefly.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Mackler on October 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It's hard not to give anything by Alice Miller five stars, because I think she's the greatest psychology writer out there today - at least the one who's influenced my personal growth and my work as a psychotherapist the most - BUT... But, this book just isn't her greatest, and I found the same problem with it that I found with her last few books...that they're really just a re-tread of her old themes, and her ideas just aren't expanding that much further than those presented in her early classics (For Your Own Good, Drama of the Gifted Child, Thou Shalt Not Be Aware). Granted, this book has its little gems, little case studies here and there in which she expresses her point of view from a slightly new angle, little lines in which she hits the nail right on the head, but if you read her classics and you avoid this book you won't be missing much.
That said, if this is the first (or only) Alice Miller book you come across, you really won't be let down. And perhaps that's her point. In each of her books she presents a concise version of her whole point of view, as if to make sure you don't miss it. And since her point of view is truly classic, so is each of her books regardless of its repetitious nature...this one included.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Before reading further, please be aware that this book deals with extreme examples of beatings and sexual abuse of children. The details are not made any more graphic than is necessary to the argument, but the examples will be disturbing to most readers.
Dr. Miller argues that childhood abuse is more prevalent and damaging than appreciated by most. Many victims cannot easily remember that they were abused. Others experienced personality twists that caused them to identify positively with the abuse and abusers as signs of love. The victims often victimize their own children in the same ways, and find their personal relationships inhibited by the obedience patterns imposed by parents and other authority figures. She goes on to argue that the damage is permanently recorded in the brain, and can encourage criminal behavior by leaders and individuals. Dr. Miller approaches the subject from a psychotherapist's viewpoint, but with little jargon. The book is designed for "readers who want to think about their lives and test new ideas . . . ."
The core of her argument is that children need the loving support and freedom to express who they feel comfortable being. When parents and other authority figures use physical punishment, humiliation, and other ways of securing compliance, the result is a person will a reduced to her or his own nature and reduced emotional intelligence. She goes on to connect these experiences to the murders by tyrants (Hitler, Stalin, and Milosevic) as well as the aggrandizing actions by other leaders (like Frederick the Great and Napoleon). She ties German willingness to follow orders in the Holocaust to German child-rearing practices.
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58 of 67 people found the following review helpful By A. Nichols on August 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It covers what Miller calls "Poisonous Pedagogy" that stems from parents and religious teaching. If you truly want to free yourself from a toxic and traumatic past buy this book - your mind will undoubtedly be opened to the horrors of accepted childcare and religious teaching practices.
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