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The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness [Paperback]

Erich Fromm
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 15 1992
In this provocative book, the distinguished author writes to break the deadlock in the struggle between the instinctivism of Konrad Lorenz and behavior psychologist B.F. Skinner.

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The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness + Escape from Freedom + The Art Of Loving
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"If any single work could bring mankind to its senses, this book might qualify for that miracle. . . . This book is the product of one of the most penetrating, most mature minds of our time."--Lewis Mumford

"In this perhaps most important of his pioneering theoretical works, the distinguished author writes with brilliant insight in attempting to break the deadlock in the struggle between the instinctivism of Konrad Lorenz . . . and behaviorist B.F. Skinner. He moves toward a provocative conclusion which involves a critical revision of Freud's theory of a "death instinct" in man. . . . Fromm's studies of Stalin and Himmler, and especially his penetrating psychobiography of Hitler, fascinatingy support his thesis."--Publisher's Weekly

"Rich and provocative . . . a major book from the pen of a major writer."--the Washington Post Book World

"Fromm is an original thinker. . . . His analysis of the causes of destructiveness is unique, and he has an enviable skill in the lucid presentation of intricate material."--Atlantic Monthly

"By far the best book I have ever read on the subject and by far the most absorbing."Ashley Montagu

"A work of broad scope and prodigious scholarship . . . immensely instructive and stimulating."

About the Author

Erich Fromm was a German-born U.S. psychoanalyst and social philosopher who explored the interaction between psychology and society. His other major works include The Art of Loving, Escape from Freedom, and Man for Himself. He died in 1980.

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First Sentence
I will forgo presenting here a history of instinct theory as the reader can find it in many textbooks. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Nov. 3 2000
By A Customer
This is a fascinating book. This book and THE TIPPING POINT seem to present firm evidence that humans have become "civilized" away from the environment we are emotionally wired for. We are emotionally wired to deal with small groups (THE TIPPING POINT stresses 150 as the maximum number a group should be), and to have no one have a lot more materially than the rest of us. Envy, violence, etc., did not/do not exist in small hunter/gatherer groups. We are economically and population-wise at the point of no return. It's a shame. But there was a time when humans were not violent, etc., in human history. Before "civilization." Machiavelli in THE PRINCE says that, "War is the normal state, peace the abnormal state." It's the normal state in an abnormal world. It's a shame we can't return to the world we were wired for. The only thing I'm truely grateful for in modern-society is anesthesia. I'd hate to live without that. But every thing else I could do without, if it also meant doing without genocide and murder and rape etc. A brilliant--I would say necessary--book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Butler did it! Jan. 30 1998
Fromm's text discussing and analyizing human destructiveness through comparisson and psycholanalysis. From Konrad Lorenz to B.F. Skinner to Stanley Milgram. Covering agression theories; behaviorism; narcissism; and necrophilia. Giving fairly objective views of all and conluding with a wonderful psychoanalysis of Adolf Hitler defining his as a malignant necrophiliac. (Need to be read to fully understand those implications; can be misleading). The book was written well enough for just about anyone to read without it ever becoming dry. Invaluble reference as well! A very thorough read without being overwhelmed, Fromm has definately understood, probably better than most, human nature and human destructiveness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ FOR PSYCH TYPES March 23 1999
By A Customer
The photo of Hitler unable to pull his eyes away from adecaying corpse is alone worth the price of admission. As this was aBook of the Month Club "featured selection" about 25 years ago, Pr. Fromm explores the dark side of humanity, from ego-centrism, to our twisted love of death. Hurtful at times, addressing basal issues most of us would rather deny, this is a truly life-changing volume. Fromm discusses our vanity and obsessions so objectively, we can actually wade through it without getting mad. A Freudian Delight!
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's nurture not nature. March 26 2004
By Huby7
If your questioning the sanity of this culture this book is a must read. I've seen this book recommended on Derrick Jensen's book list. Who probably is the best cultural critic I have read.

In my mind this book has put to rest the myth that the destruction and violence done by civilized man is instinctual. It takes a culture like ours to condition us into hating ourselves and the rest of life around us.
Fromm explores non-violent cultures to show us that humans havn't always been so hell bent on destruction and death. That there actually was life affirmative cultures. Fromm's final final chapter has really stuck with me. One of his suggestions for our survival is that the biophiliacs(life loving)people have to have their voices heard and object to the sadistic tendancies of this culture. A must read for anybody who is trying to imagine a better way.
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