I bought this and "The Making and Breaking of Affectional Bonds" in order to better understand attachment theory. Between the two books John Bowlby provides 15 lectures, being very informative about the history, contemporary issues at the time written, and suggestions for future development of attachment theory. Essential reading for any student interested in attachment theory.
John Bowlby is the father of attachment theory, and is most famous for his observational work with children in care during WWII. 'A Secure Base' is a great place to begin if you are interested in his work, as it is concise and a much shorter read than his 'Attachment Theory' in three volumes. This book appeals for a change in attitude and understanding of basic human need for affection and rejects the unsolicited use of neglect - once disguised as an acceptable way of parenting. It calls into question the theories of 'controlled crying' and other punitive methods, which, to this day are still commonly practised throughout the western world. Through Bowlby's observations, we can begin to join the dots and build a picture of why today's news headlines portray such a bleak outlook on our future. The introduction to this book is so simply put but conveys an important message; parenthood has all but lost its value in the developed world and yet it is the most important and demanding job for the survival of our society. This book should be read by children at school as well as their parents, politicians and CEOs alike.
I am studying for my diploma in psychodynamic counselling and have found this book refreshingly easy to read. Its content is useful both in terms of theoretical essay writing and in adding to understanding of clinical practice. It is a collection of talks that Bowlby gave and as such does not detail Bowlby's attachment thoery, but makes reference to it.
A really good summing up and run through of the development of theory around attachment. If you are planning to work with harmed kids or adopt/ foster, I'd most certainly read this first. Makes great sense unlike some famous psychoanalysts I could mention.