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The Anatomy Of Human Destructiveness Paperback – 4 Sep 1997

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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£16.00 FREE Delivery in the UK. Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we dispatch the item. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Pimlico; New Ed edition (4 Sept. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712674896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712674898
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"If any single book could bring mankind to its senses, this book might qualify for that miracle...It is the product of one of the most alert, the most penetrating and the most mature minds of our time" (Lewis Mumford The Times)

"A major work of argument and reflection on human aggression" (Economist)

"A stunningly erudite book...it demands that we confront our own, and our civilization's character, if we are to understand the nature of our violence" (New Society)

Book Description

What makes men kill? How can we explain man's lust for cruelty and destruction? This pioneering work provides the answers.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 7 Sept. 2001
Format: Paperback
This book will alter the way you see yourself and the way you understand other people. It challanges both the idea that behaviour is simply either nature or nurture, and makes the coherent case that behaviour is an amalgam of these two currents. It draws upon various strands such as ; Anthopology, Neurology; Psychology, Psychiatry and uses research in Social Studies to provide an overview of where and how human destructiveness may come about. There is also a clear distinction drawn between the defensive agression displayed in other areas of the animal kingdom with the purely destructive agression that is exclusive to humans. All in all a very enlightening book.
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Format: Paperback
We all know of the destruction mankind is capable of, from the concentration camps at Belson to the bloody street fight, we humans often present ourselves as destructive and nihilistic. Looking back through history, war appears at first not as the exception but as the rule of our species - any sober, extraterrestrial being would probably conclude that we humans are pre-programmed by genetic logic to annihilate ourselves and everybody else. But is this violence we exhibit innate, or is the adverse effects of civilisation, of the march of never-ending progress? This is the question Fromm attempts to answer.
And he begins by rejecting, or more accurately speaking: fusing, both the polar extremes. Both the instinctivist view - which says that man is innately violent and seeks out ways to channel his anger - and the behaviourist explanation - which says that it is situations created by the overarching social conditions which give rise to mans anger - are rejected as counterintuitive and unnecessary limited.
The neurology of our minds show that like all other animals we are designed by biology to fight or flee when our vital interests are threatened - and in most cases we flee. This is defensive aggression, which serves a obvious part in our survival. But, not only does imagination and human intelligence make our vital interests more expansive than the mechanistic needs of a rabbit (for example) but we are also the only animal that engages in violence and torture when there is no threat. We are the only species that willingly inflicts pain and suffering intra-specifically (and inter-specifically) when there is no clear incitation to do so. This is what Fromm calls malignant aggression.
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2 Comments 38 of 42 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Stimulating, creating debate and primarily thought provoking. Hits hard when discussing and evaluating behaviourism and instinctivists ie geneticists. It loses focus when evaluating the life of Hitler although it brings new insights. Alice Miller's "For your own good" and Klaus Theweleit's "Male Fantasies, Vol 1 and 2" are far more incisive.

This is a big book brimming and frothing with ideas. Modern insights have been built on this work, so it remains glued to its time. It is a signpost rather than a final statement. It still is relevant. It's just too reliant on Freud's drive theory, the reversion back to instinct and genes to be wholly relevant. The drive theory is eaily conjured where a psychological impasse arises and explanations falter. It requires no further effort and we call all retreat mumbling the two words between our lips. It is an over arching assumption rather than just an exploration with the person of how they have constructed their worlds. This was the great patronising gift of Freud to the world "I know better than you."

In discussing Hitler he seems unware of his sustained hatred of his family. This was so intense he sent the German tanks to practice on the site of his former village, Dollersheim wiping it from the records. Not the acts of a man who wishes to sanctify his childhood foundations and create a shrine from his personality cult. More like an act of revenge on a family that offered little in support.

Fromm portrays him as feckless, narcisistic and arrogant. So 'arrogant' he spent 1909-1914 in various flop houses, homeless hostels in the modern world, selling picture postcards of his views of Vienna and eventually Munich To sustain his view Fromm details him as a man wanting to be an artist, but eschewing hard work.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fromm's study on destructiveness gives insight into every person's character, whether they're aware of the destructive instincts within themselves or not.
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