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Learning to Love

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0878436064
ISBN-10: 0878436065
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 116 pages
  • Publisher: Jones & Bartlett Pub (June 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0878436065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878436064
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,691,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The classic written by Harry Harlow, the researcher who bucked the wisdom of his times to discover and report that babies need affection to maintain good health and to function well as they mature. With clever word play and biting wit, Harlow engages the reader in examining how isolation and lack of motherly affection doomed unfortunate lab monkeys to a lifetime of loneliness and sexual dysfunction. He shares his insights on what this means for all of us. Also strongly recommend Love at Goon Park—a biography of Harlow and his work.
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Format: Hardcover
Harlow's work demonstrates the importance of caregiving and companionship in social and cognitive development. His work influenced key changes in how orphanages, adoption agencies, social services groups, and child care providers approached the care of children. Along with child analysts and researchers, including Anna Freud and René Spitz, Harlow's experiments added scientific legitimacy to two powerful arguments: against institutional child care and in favor of psychological parenthood. The permanence associated with adoption was far superior to other arrangements when it came to safeguarding the future mental and emotional well-being of children in need of parents. His themes are evident in the book Adoption Detective by Judith and Martin Land. Reference: Page 273-274

Judith Land, Author
Adoption Detective: Memoir of an Adopted Child
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Format: Hardcover
The strength of this book comes when Harlow describes what he's directly observed in his monkey-torture experiments. His experiments were clearly sick and sociopathic (or at the least dramatically lacking in empathy), but there's much to learn from them. Scattered throughout the book are nuggets of information on how his monkeys reacted differently to each other, to life, to the world, and to themselves after they'd been deprived of healthy parenting and healthy social interaction as infants, and Harlow does a great job of comparing these deprived and dysfunctional monkeys to healthy monkeys. This at times sheds an incomparably bright light on the screwed-up dynamics of humans.

However, his insight-provoking monkey descriptions make up a minimum of the writing in the book, and are just scattered throughout occasionally. Had the whole book been about his monkey experiments it would have been a definite five-star piece - and a classic in psychology writing. But instead Harlow wrote mostly about humans, humans, and more humans, and his insights are often conservative, old-school, boring, conventional, and of his time and place. He is a great proponent of heterosexual, romantic love as the highest ideal, and contrasts this with narcissistic love, never realizing that all-too-often they're the same thing!

(Actually, I came back a few weeks later and have added in this parenthetical, because I have since learned Harlow was ahead of a lot of the psychologists of him time ---- SCARY!!!)

I quickly got tired of Harlow's point of view about humans - and no surprise. When I think about it, why would I want to trust the supposedly brilliant insights on humanity of a guy who can so easily torture innocent little almost-human monkeys?
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