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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book which falls at the last fence
The factual content of this book is brilliant and much needed. Quoting study after study, and with a nice lacing of anecdote, Adrian Raine drives home in the message that violent crime results from brain abnormalities, sometimes taken in conjunction with - and sometimes actually caused by - environmental factors. He shows also that this biological damage can be, in some...
Published 12 months ago by Mr. R. T. Oerton

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3.0 out of 5 stars too complicated
I guess it was written for pros. I am not a pro. I got a few good insights and the book is helpful. I wish Prof. Raine had commissioned a shorter version with a simpler message for lay people.
Published 1 month ago by Wallie


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book which falls at the last fence, 21 July 2013
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This review is from: The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime (Hardcover)
The factual content of this book is brilliant and much needed. Quoting study after study, and with a nice lacing of anecdote, Adrian Raine drives home in the message that violent crime results from brain abnormalities, sometimes taken in conjunction with - and sometimes actually caused by - environmental factors. He shows also that this biological damage can be, in some ways and to some extent, improved or prevented by remedial action. To Raine, violent crime is a clinical disorder which (if its dire results are to be reduced) must be treated as such.

To some people the idea that violent crime has biological roots is apparently surprising and even unacceptable. On a rational level, I find it hard to see why. Although I'm not a scientist (I'm a lawyer) I should be astonished if it were not so. Criminals are not self-created: they aren't ordinary people who wake up one morning and decide, for no reason, to become criminals: they are products of their genetic endowment and their past experiences. And if you and I had exactly that same endowment and exactly those same experiences, we should be exactly the same as they are and behave in exactly the same way as they do.

My only quarrel with Raine is that he doesn't seem fully to accept the logic of what he's saying. I approach his book as the author of another book (The Nonsense of Free Will) which denies the existence of what we call "free will". It's obvious to me that all of us - not just criminals - behave as we do because our behaviour is determined: determined by our being the people we are and by the factors which have made us that way. The virtue of Raine's book is that it shows, to some extent and in relation to one class of people, how the determining takes place. Its vice (from where I'm standing) is that he never lets his camera track back in order to see that this is just one piece of a much wider truth.

There's one short passage in Chapter 10, consisting of about half a page, in which Raine seems to deny completely the existence of free will. Good for him. But this passage comes across as a brief and inadvertent lapse, because immediately before it, and immediately after it, he contradicts it by endorsing (without ever explaining) the idea of some sort of partial or constrained free will. Perhaps he doesn't want to go the whole hog. Perhaps most of us don't. But sooner or later we'll have to.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but..., 29 Jun 2014
A. Raine shows us a relationship between seafood consumption and homicide rate in figure 7.3 (taken from a study by J. Hibbeln published in 2001). Even quick internet search shows that Bulgaria's highest rate in past 20 years was 6 and has been in steady fall since 1995, Hungary's rate has been lower than 3 since 1995 and Poland reached 6 only in the year 2000 and usually has had
between 1 and 3 for years before or since. Yet in the book we are presented with numbers that are double or triple the actual rates.
Today the rates are: Hungary 1.3, Poland 1.1, Bulgaria 1.9. Fish consumption still low, about 20 pounds/person/year. No significant change over past 30 years.

I wonder how many more massaged figures and flawed studies are given to us as "facts" in this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read for the informed layperson, 1 Jun 2014
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This book is an excellent read and although I have a degree in psychology I think it is perfectly accessible to people without specialist knowledge. It is a really fascinating read and highly recommended.
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3.0 out of 5 stars too complicated, 30 May 2014
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This review is from: The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime (Hardcover)
I guess it was written for pros. I am not a pro. I got a few good insights and the book is helpful. I wish Prof. Raine had commissioned a shorter version with a simpler message for lay people.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, informative read., 19 April 2014
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I suspect this book should be compulsory reading for anyone involved in the justice and medical systems, and anyone who is, or is thinking of becoming, a parent. So just about everyone. Clearly and expertly written, evidence based, and keeping the content accessible to lay readers (like me). If you have the slightest interest in evolutionary psychology, this will be a valuable addition to your library.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully informative read, 15 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime (Hardcover)
'The Anatomy of Violence', while it addresses the biology of criminals as being a contributing factor to the acts they commit, is written in a way that engages the reader and forces them to think. It explains each factor with clarity, accompanied by detailed analyses, but was - thankfully, for someone with very little understanding of biology - relatively easy to understand.

I used this book for research on my extended project on what drives people to commit murder, and it was by far the most valuable source of information, as well as being a fascinating book as a whole.

This book definitely deserves a 5 star rating!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read, 13 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime (Hardcover)
Violent behaviour is deemed to be a complex product of biosocial and environmental influences. In this book ‘The Anatomy of Violence’, Adrian Raine sets out what biological research is revealing about the root causes of crime and violence, and he reiterates the nature-or-nurture debate in doing so. Notwithstanding, the book is deeply informative and introduces the reader to a fascinating perspective on crime and violence. It will be of interest to undergraduate students (and the lay reader) who is concerned with the effects that biological influence has on people who commit violent crime.

Raine's central theme considers several awkward societal issues, which left me asking questions such as; what are the implications for the criminal justice system? Should individuals be punished and condemned for behaviour they have little control over? Is there an opportunity to act preemptively with individuals who exhibit strong biological predispositions to becoming dangerous criminals? To be fair, Raine does attempt to provide some credible answers and i found his logic quite persuasive at times.That being said, he appears to have taken on the baton from 20th Century eugenicists who also claimed that criminal behaviour was a result of defective genes. (and we all know where that led!!). Nevertheless, as convincing as Raine’s urgings are, his dilemma and frustration appear to lay in the fact that he can only provide the science. An example of this is in the final chapter, when he predicts a dystopian future that would be a cause of great concern to civil libertarians among us.

All in all, this book is an accessible contribution to the field of neurocriminology, and includes studies on biological treatments, brain imaging, behavioural and molecular genetics as well as nutrition and crime-schizotypal personality relationships. The book also manages to articulate the complexities of the human brain, as well as provide the reader with information on the dynamics of our biological, electrochemical, physio-chemical and structural processes.The Anatomy of Violence provides a good theoretical understanding of the biological underpinnings of violent behaviour to criminal outcome. And Raine does make a strong case that distinct biological traits shape criminal behaviour. However, if the state approached crime prevention and rehabilitation in the same way as Raine appears to do, god help us all hahahahaha...

That being said, I thoroughly recommend this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting read, 18 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime (Hardcover)
I read a bit of this book for an essay and enjoyed it so much I had to buy it, now it has become part of my thinking.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Anatomy of violence, 5 Jan 2014
Brilliant empirical research evidence of causes of human violence attributed to hereditary recessive genes.I Highly recommend this book for all professionals.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Anatomy of Violence, 25 Nov 2013
This review is from: The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime (Hardcover)
The most interesting and thought-provoking book I've read in ten years. Easy to read and accessible to the lay reader (although I confess I gave up trying to remember which brain area did what after a while; there were just too many). Although my background is in social sciences, my worldview shifted on having my own child and I realised how much of personality and behaviour seems to be innate and biological. Two months on and I'm still thinking about and discussing some of the issues raised with anyone who'll listen. I've recommended this to friends who are social workers, those working in law enforcement, those interested in criminology, psychology, and simply parents in general. Crime, its causes, and how we treat it, affects us all and says a lot about who we are as a society, after all.
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The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime
The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime by Adrian Raine (Hardcover - 30 April 2013)
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