Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Soul Murder: The Effects of Childhood Abuse and Deprivation

3.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0449905494
ISBN-10: 0449905497
Why is ISBN important?
ISBN
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy used On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$13.95 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
Buy new On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$19.00 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
More Buying Choices
32 New from $8.63 45 Used from $0.01
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Prime Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student

$19.00 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Soul Murder: The Effects of Childhood Abuse and Deprivation
  • +
  • Soul Murder Revisited: Thoughts about Therapy, Hate, Love, and Memory
Total price: $53.00
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[Soul Murder] should be required reading for all who are interested in the well-being of the world's children .... [Shengold's] manner is always respectful, dignified, and compassionate, and readers will find insights that are immediately useful in helping unravel the mysteries of their own, or another's behavior. This landmark work will do much to help those who need to heal"

Louise DeSalvo

Author of Virginia Woolf: The Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse on Her Life and Work

"Leonard Shengold is one of the most civilized and humane of contemporary psychoanalytic writers .... Soul Murder is a work of great intellectual rigor and moral beauty"

Janet Malcolm

Author of In the Freud Archives

"A densely documented, multifaceted book... Perceptive, evocative, original." The Kirkus Reviews

From the Inside Flap

To abuse or neglect a child, to deprive the child of his or her own identity and ability to experience joy in life, is to commit soul murder. Soul murder is the perpetration of brutal or subtle acts against children that result in their emotional bondage to the abuser and, finally, in their psychic and spiritual annihilation. In this compelling, disturbing, and superbly readable book, Dr. Leonard Shengold, clinical professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine, explores the devastating psychological effects of this trauma inflicted on a shocking number of children.
Drawing on a lifetime of clinical experience and wide-ranging reading in world literature, Dr. Shengold examines the ravages of soul murder in the adult lives of his patients as well as in the lives and works of such seminal writers as George Orwell, Dickens, Chekhov, and Kipling. One hopeful note in this saga of pain is that a terrible childhood can, if survived, be a source of strength, as Dr. Shengold finds in the cases of Dickens and Orwell.
Provocatively original in its approach to literature and psychology, unsettling in its vivid portrayal of the darker side of human nature, far-reaching in its conclusions, Soul Murder will stand alongside such works as Alice Miller's The Drama of the Gifted Child as one of the most important studies of the psyche to appear in decades.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (March 20, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449905497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449905494
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've read this book several times, and find it very useful to understand and to undo the effects of trauma. Shengold speaks to me personally as the one-time member of an abusive family, and professionally as a psychoanalyst who works with people who have been abused. This book is painful to read at times, and is probably better read in small sections at a time, so that it can be felt and digested.
Comment 61 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By A Customer on November 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
Although deeply literate, thought provoking, and full of interesting and penetrating observations, formulations, and interpretations, I recommend this book only to those who already well-read in the area of childhood trauma.
My reason is that the book is imbued with a traditional Freudian understanding of the mind. A central statement of the author's view in this matter can be found on page 33, where Schengold refers to the "pathogenic power of fantasy." What a concept! The idea that one's imagination can make one sick! Such ideas have, in my opinion, no basis in fact and no place in a modern work on trauma.
Schengold certainly does not deny the pathogenic power of concrete childhood realities--in fact, that is his emphasis throughout the book and he has much of importance to say about it--but the Freudian taint could still, I think, mislead those who have not thoroughly thought through the issue. For this reason, I recommend this book only to those who are already well-read and well-thought in the area, and can therefore identify and disregard such notions; for such readers, the work is a stimulating gem. (I do not mean this to disparage Freud's contribution to the field of trauma, which was huge--see, especially, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, disregarding his notion of the Death Wish, for a brilliant anticipation of modern concepts of post-traumatic repetition--but other dimensions of Freud's undestanding are insupportable and should be discarded, including some contained in Schengold's book.
Read more ›
7 Comments 86 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I knew when I bought the book that the writer would approach the topic from a Freudian perspective, which I don't necessarily think is always the best but I was willing to check it out. I also didn't know that he was going to be speaking almost exclusively of famous authors through analysis of their writing. It comes off as more of an academic exercise (albeit a skilled one) than one having much to do with me reality in parenting a previously abused child.
Comment 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This is a landmark book, many papers written based upon this book are now famous. For those well read in child abuse psychopathology, this book explains how and to what extent the damage is done to children of abuse.

The Title speaks volumes: Soul murder...what more can be said?

This is indispensible for therapists, parents of damaged children

and adult survivors of child abuse.
Comment 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was really disappointed. This book had a few (emphasis on few) helpful insights, but a majority of it was science fiction psychobabble with heavy Freud references. I can't even explain the concept of the book because it was so bizarre and unrelatable. To give an example, it referred to child-abuse victims as "rat-people" (a Freud reference), stating "one sees that the rat can stand for subject or object of any stage of libidinal development but is particularly associated with eating and being eaten and with anal erogeneity." If you are looking for a real-life understanding of what happened to you as a child (or just understandable language in general), or how to heal going forward, this is NOT the book.
Comment 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I bought this book many years ago and read the beginning with interest. The author cited examples from literature instead of his practice. I prefer to read about real cases--with identities disguised, of course. Nevertheless, Shengold seemed sympathetic. Eventually, though, he began to lower the Freudian boom. What followed was unintelligible until he discussed a real case, a female patient whom he found difficult. "She was projecting her penis envy on me," he claimed. At that point I knew that the book was trash. A woman might very well envy the advantages that possession of a penis confers, but the envy ends there. That patient eventually discontinued "therapy" with him--go and figure! His attitude toward her termination of his "services" was downright flippant.

I stopped reading after that. However, before I threw the book into the dumpster, I wrapped it in plastic bags. For all I knew, some homeless drifter might rifle through the garbage, find the book, and rescue it for the sake of having something to do. He might even entertain the idea that reading it would improve both his mind and his lot in life. I did not want to perpetrate such deception onto an unsuspecting vagrant.

Perhaps Shengold's surname or that of his ancestors used to be Scheingold. "Schein" in front of a German noun denotes "appearance of," that is to say, not the real thing. I don't mean to suggest that because of Leonard Shengold's surname I have a grudge against his ancestors--or is that true? Obviously, somebody failed to raise him right.

Far better are books by renowned Swiss psychologist Alice Miller: "The Drama of the Gifted Child," "Thou Shalt Not Be Aware," and "For Your Own Good." Susan Forward's "Betrayal of Innocence--Incest and Its Devastation" is also excellent.
Comment 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Soul Murder: The Effects of Childhood Abuse and Deprivation
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Soul Murder: The Effects of Childhood Abuse and Deprivation