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Fatherless Sons: Healing the Legacy of Loss Hardcover – 22 Sep 2006

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Diamond′s father, whose lectures at Princeton were noted for their humor, was also a batterer who abused his wives and children. Psychotherapist Diamond′s moving account of his relationship with his father is a nuanced exploration of mourning and its aftermath. The author also discusses the role his mother played, despite her lifelong alcoholism, in protecting him from his father′s episodic, mercurial rage. The author′s father contacted and attended meetings of a batterer′s program shortly before he died, which permitted Diamond to feel compassion and love for his parent. His childhood experiences have made Diamond constantly aware of how he expresses anger toward his own young sons. Interwoven with stories about his father are the experiences of other men, drawn from the author′s practice, that illuminate a son′s trauma when he is faced with the death of a male parent. One man, who at the age of 15 discovered his father hanging from a beam in the basement, deals 25 years later with the fact that his father, beloved by family and neighbors, was often depressed. For Diamond, his father left one positive legacy, a physically demonstrative nature. Diamond recommends physical affection between father and son, saying "[h]ugging is one of the best ways... to introduce hope into a strained or broken relationship...."(Aug.) (Publishers Weekly, May 22, 2006)

"Diamond′s moving account of his relationship with his father is a nuanced exploration of mourning and its aftermath." (Publishers Weekly, May 22, 2006)

From the Inside Flap

Years of training and a successful psychotherapy practice taught Jonathan Diamond how to guide others through the grieving process. Then he learned his own father, with whom he shared a tumultuous relationship, was dying. Suddenly, Diamond found himself ambushed by the intensity of his own feelings. The son of a popular Princeton professor, Diamond alone knew what his father′s adoring students and admiring colleagues did not: the explosive rage, the outbursts of violence, the unbearable anxiety—and the equally fierce love that father and son felt for each other nonetheless.

For men whose relationship with their fathers has been marred by conflict, abuse, or indifference, death extinguishes any hope of really knowing the man. Even before their fathers die, these men′s grief is more about the loss of what could have been than the loss of what was. Many try to escape their feelings with anger or avoidance only to find that neither brings relief.

While navigating his own emotions, Diamond discovered that mourning a violent and abusive father becomes an attempt to take back what was stolen—an act of defiance and hope. In Fatherless Sons, the author shares with great candor his personal journey through this largely uncharted territory. Drawing upon his own experiences and those shared by his clients, Diamond provides tools for untangling the confusion in the father–son relationship, releasing the past, and celebrating the good. On this road, many men will discover for the first time an opportunity to make peace with their deceased fathers, interrupt the cycle of violence, and free their own children from a legacy of unfinished grieving and unacknowledged pain.

Whether it is yourself you see in these pages or someone you love, here you will find many moving, illuminating, and ultimately redemptive stories framed by Diamond′s vivid analysis and reflections. Men and those who love them will find Fatherless Sons a powerful celebration of healing and a path to reconciliation and acceptance.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very worthwhile book.,, 11 Sept. 2016
By Bianca J. Howard - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wonderful and important reading as a divorced mother raising sons.
I bought one for each of them evan though they are grown.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beacon to navigate by in the confusing waters of grief 29 Oct. 2006
By Christopher P. Behan - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Jonathan Diamond has written a gorgeous book, "Fatherless Sons," a meditation on the son's ongoing relationship with his father--even after death. This book, filled with wisdom-packed, thought-provoking prose is a godsend for men who are grieving the loss of their fathers.

Diamond, a gifted psychotherapist and teacher, describes his own journey in healing from the death of his dearly loved father to cancer, not long after he became a father himself. His father, Malcolm Diamond, an attentive parent and beloved Princeton professor, had a darker side as sometimes physically and emotionally abusive, which renders his son's grieving more complicated. Diamond punctuates the book's self-help lessons with reflections on various scenes of his life with his dad interspersed throughout-- by turns tender, joyous and violent.

Diamond takes on the tough and complex issues of fatherloss: dealing with the death of fathers who have been absent or abusive, the influence of race, class and sexual orientation and the profound spiritual questions that the death of the father raises. The author also draws upon the stories of many men who have lost their fathers. He weaves their narratives with his own to make his central point: "To those whose fathers are already gone, the book illuminates the possibility for a second chance--an opportunity for rediscovery--for men to feel compassion and forgiveness for their fathers and thereby free themselves from the emotional bonds that keep their present tied in knots, their future out of reach, and their past chained to a wounded soul."

Besides gathering knowledge from his own and other men's stories, Diamond taps into the vast collection of insight across time and culture from writers and thinkers as diverse as Martin Buber and Anne Lamott, Sigmund Freud and Bob Dylan, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Alice Walker.

"Fatherless Sons" is definitely worth buying and reading if you have lost your father to death or love someone who has. Diamond's book is a beacon to navigate by in the confusing waters of grief.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding help to heal from your loss 15 Dec. 2011
By Firstsnow - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I bought several books to help my husband through the loss of his father at an early age from which he never analyzed or recovered. This book was so good I couldnt put it down, and he agreed. Dr. Diamond has such powerful delivery, relaying personal events as well as those of his clients. My husband felt it deeply helped him to make peace and suggested I buy it for other males we know dealing with similar issues. I've never seen him so enthusiastic about any psychology book. Please don't hesitate to give this book a try if you've been struggling with emotions from a difficult, confusing, or even abusive childhood. The author will help you look at the mixed emotions as well as help you make peace with the loss of your father.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Fatherless Sons" is transformative, a celebration of the journey 29 Jan. 2007
By Lorena Loubsky-Lonergan - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Fatherless Sons is much more than a self-help book for guiding us through our grieving process. It is poignant memoir, a celebration of both the gift and the intense pain of parenting and being parented. From one page to the next, we join Jonathan Diamond's journey with his own father and with fathers and sons in his practice as a psychotherapist. It is no armchair journey and it becomes your own as his eloquence brings you to laughter and tears with each story within the story. These become touchstones and beacons that guide us through our unique personal process, giving us tools to experience much more than a legacy of loss, it is a testament to love and its power to move inner and relational mountains. It is a book I would gift to anyone, whether grieving their own father's death or sitting Shiva with another's loss. We are given a rare and sacred glimpse of the process of mourning ~ and of celebrating our fathers, their darkness and light.
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