An easily understood book but perhaps not a widely read book. This sums up the ideas that Reich, Gross, Adler, Stekel and Laing looked upon. The violence enacted within childhood becomes locked within the body and thereby festers.
This negative energy either becomes sublimated and later emerges as an illness or is expressed in anger and violence. In this way it repeats the revenge cycle.
Alice Miller reveals all with vignettes and case histories drawn from literature, newspaper articles along with a reflection upon herself and her previous work. Easily digestible but harder for many to take on board, as it entails returning to experiences that will have been shutdown, erased, forgotten or sublimated..
Alice Miller takes on the hoary old chestnut - why does everyone who has been sexually abused not turn into Ed Gein, Ted Bundy or Myra Hindley?
It is because someone rescues them upon a life path, the childhood is never determined but the choices become severely curtailed - unless someone is rescued by an emotional lifeguard. If not, the drift into making those choices to reenact the violence reoccur, for a number of rationales. This perspective gets up the nose of the neo-eugenicists who want to boil humans down to their genetic key. They are the new hip-priests, filled with religious fervor fueled by their desire to discover "original sin."
So the academic world just stares scratches its head and searches for the psychopath gene, it does not have anything else to offer apart from mechanical reductionism, because it fails to understand a life body. When all the time human behaviour is encoded within the daily interactions they seem incapable of reflecting upon.
Alice Miller provides the infrastructure to see the world from a different perspective; the correct one. Do not waste your time on the ersatz psychology courses which abound as Ponzi Schemes.