Denis J. Madden and John R. Lion, editors RAGE, HATE, ASSAULT AND OTHER FORMS OF VIOLENCE New York: Spectrum Publications, 1976, 265 pp., $20.
People throughout this country today are increasingly concerned about the problem of violent behavior. They are troubled by its prevalence, they are questioning its causes, and they are anxiously seeking methods for its control. As more and more attention has been focused on these issues, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have been attempting to expand our understanding of violent behavior and our competence to deal with it. Accordingly, Madden and Lion's book is a very timely one, for it offers a collection of papers that summarize the available literature on violence from many points of view.
A major strength of the volume is clearly the range of its topics and the diversity of its authors' perspectives. The book includes sections on child abuse, violence in the media, legal issues in the management of violent patients, and research models for the study of violence. The authors include both clinicians and researchers, and the papers generally contain extensive bibliographies.
Despite the substantial strengths, however, there are two important weaknesses in the book. One is a feature that the book shares with many other edited volumes of papers by numerous authors - namely, a considerable variation in terms of quality and substance. Some of the papers provide excellent in-depth analyses of their subject matter; unfortunately, others are of much lower quality and, accordingly, of much less value. The second weakness, also common to many multiple-author volumes, is that much of the work is dated. While the book was published recently, it appears that the individual contributions were prepared sometime ago, for they are based on bibliographic material that is at least two or three years old.