Monday, August 18, 2008

Library Journal Recommends Jonathan Fast's CEREMONIAL VIOLENCE

Jonathan Fast's new book Ceremonial Violence is reviewed in the current issue of Library Journal: "Fast, a novelist as well as a professor of social work (Yeshiva Univ.), explores the psychological roots of school violence through in-depth case studies of six young shooters, including Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold of Columbine High. While the author hypothesizes that all of the shooters see their acts as cleansing and elevating rituals, he shows that there is no single underlying situation—parental neglect or low IQ, for example—that invariably led these young people into difficulty. Most of these teens felt alienated from their peers, although some seem to have been goaded into action by groups of aggressive so-called friends who pushed them to commit violent acts. The case studies are compelling; fans of true crime will like the book as pure narrative, while parents and educators will appreciate the suggestions for identifying potentially violent students. This is a good companion to Katherine S. Newman and others' Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings, which explores the same situations from a sociological viewpoint. Recommended for all academic and most public libraries."

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