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Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic Paperback – April 29, 1997
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From the Inside Flap
"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
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Top Customer Reviews
The most hopeful insight Gilligan offers about violence is: A person's tortuous, shameful sense of self prompts the act of murder to "symbolically" silence the ridicule one has endured. Does this sound remarkably similar to those humiliated young teenagers who feel compelled to avenge their pain with murderous revenge against their taunting classmates? Gilligan's book offers a sign of hope, for if we are able to significantly prevent violence, it will come from focusing on the underlying "incapacitating feelings" we humans experience when we are repeatedly emotionally wounded. In my new book on education strategies for prevention of violence, I address our cultural reluctance to educate children (and their parents) about the critical importance of understanding their inner reaction to being emotionally wounded. Gilligan, in his own way, seems to be advocating that violent consequences follow blaming others for what WE feel, and then symbolically attempting to punish them (with murder) for our sense of shame. We need more parents, teachers and emotional educators who can demonstrate a healthy and honest way of dealing with emotional wounds other than shaming ourselves or blaming others. It is not rocket science to LEARN how to deal with painful feelings. It is just that we have a deeply embedded cultural tendency to ignore and let our pain build up within us until it erupts into what Gilligan calls the "ritual" of murder. I would venture that few, if any, persons who commit violence were ever taught how to name, own and honor their hurt feelings as a normal -- not shameful -- part of their human vulnerability.
Read this book if you are ready to take in the truth and be enlightened to a gruesome reality, violence is largely the result of the violence we are subject to. Maybe it's time for us to stop blaming violent people for being violent and create programs and environments that CHANGE it!
Having said this, however, there are serious flaws in this book. In the first place, it's horribly written and horribly edited. The book is over-long, maddeningly redundant, and choppy in presentation. Gilligan's central shame thesis is repeated again and again; Chapter 5 is basically a rewrite of Chapters 2 and 3; chapter 4 could've been condensed into a couple of paragraphs; the Prologue and Epilogue are over-long and rather gratuitous; and to top everything off, Gilligan writes Chapter 5 as if it's the real beginning of the book (which it actually is), even including an Introduction-like summary of the chapters that follow. It's as if he combined two manuscripts to make one book. The poor style of presentation is enough to cause even patient and sympathetic readers to hair-pull.
Moreover, it's difficult to see that Gilligan really establishes his central thesis: that shame is the root of violence. I would argue that he begs the question, ignoring as he does the obvious point that not all experiences of shame result in recognizable violence. Sometimes--perhaps usually, as a matter of fact--shame leads to renewed determination to succeed in order to redeem past offences.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
IMO, this book leans heavily towards the dramatic, and its formula concerning violence is boilerplate. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Texanica
One of the most thought provoking books I have ever read, yet easy enough to read on the beach.Published 4 months ago by T. Fire
No more genuine and insightful study of the psychological nature of violence exists.Published 9 months ago by nate rogers
Important to anyone who wants to understand how violence is not individual but systemic for the "benefit" of the few.Published 23 months ago by Jean
good book to get you thinking about violence differently. easy and straight forward read and understand. highly recommend it for those interested in decreasing violencePublished 24 months ago by Kristy L Burgss
This book gives awesome insight into the realities of the prison system in the United States, and exposes why our current correctional facilities are as flawed as they are. Read morePublished on April 25, 2014 by Devin Solkov
It is a very Interesting book to read. I have read this book and learned a lot about violence and how people can be. I like this book, because it talks about people’s behaviors. Read morePublished on March 22, 2014 by Sopio Svanishvili