The Anatomy of Violence by Adrian Raine
The Biological Roots of Crime

72%

6 Critic Reviews

The Anatomy of Violence is an astonishingly accessible account of all the major elements— environmental, social, biochemical, psychological, and neurological—related to crime and human violence...
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

With a 4-page full-color insert, and black-and-white illustrations throughout

Why do some innocent kids grow up to become cold-blooded serial killers? Is bad biology partly to blame? For more than three decades Adrian Raine has been researching the biological roots of violence and establishing neurocriminology, a new field that applies neuroscience techniques to investigate the causes and cures of crime. In The Anatomy of Violence, Raine dissects the criminal mind with a fascinating, readable, and far-reaching scientific journey into the body of evidence that reveals the brain to be a key culprit in crime causation.
 
Raine documents from genetic research that the seeds of sin are sown early in life, giving rise to abnormal physiological functioning that cultivates crime. Drawing on classical case studies of well-known killers in history—including Richard Speck, Ted Kaczynski, and Henry Lee Lucas—Raine illustrates how impairments to brain areas controlling our ability to experience fear, make good decisions, and feel guilt predispose us to violence. He contends that killers can actually be coldhearted: something as simple as a low resting heart rate can give rise to violence. But arguing that biology is not destiny, he also sketches out provocative new biosocial treatment approaches that can change the brain and prevent violence.
 
Finally, Raine tackles the thorny legal and ethical dilemmas posed by his research, visualizing a futuristic brave new world where our increasing ability to identify violent offenders early in life might shape crime-prevention policies, for good and bad. Will we sacrifice our notions of privacy and civil rights to identify children as potential killers in the hopes of helping both offenders and victims? How should we punish individuals with little to no control over their violent behavior? And should parenting require a license? The Anatomy of Violence offers a revolutionary appraisal of our understanding of criminal offending, while also raising provocative questions that challenge our core human values of free will, responsibility, and punishment.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Adrian Raine

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Adrian Raine is the Richard Perry University Professor of Criminology, Psychiatry, and Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and a leading authority on the biology of violence. After leaving secondary school to become an airline accountant, he abandoned his financial career and spent four years as a prison psychologist to understand why some individuals become violent psychopaths while others do not.
 
Published April 30, 2013 by Vintage. 501 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences, Professional & Technical, Law & Philosophy, Crime, Science & Math, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Action & Adventure, Self Help, Nature & Wildlife. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Anatomy of Violence
All: 6 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 2

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Paul Bloom on Jun 21 2013

...on the whole he makes a good case that certain genetic, neurological and physiological factors do predict violent behavior. Some of these findings might be obvious.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Raymond Tallis on Jun 13 2013

Raine's humane wish to persuade us that crime is essentially a clinical disorder...but his belief that neuroscience should have an increasing role in determining criminal responsibility and sentencing policy is less attractive.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Salley Vickers on May 25 2013

The Anatomy of Violence is a sobering reminder that for all our cultural pretensions, we are also at the mercy of our biological systems.

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WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Michael Gazzaniga on May 03 2013

When he suggests that we undertake action on the social level...I get off the train. In my view, someday, somehow, someone is going to figure out that the social layer simply can't do all the things we ask of it.

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Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by Julian Baggini on May 17 2013

If he shouts a little too loudly about the brain’s role, it is because that voice needs to be heard. In The Anatomy of Violence, it comes across clearly, powerfully and often persuasively.

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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Aphrodite Jones on Apr 28 2013

The Anatomy of Violence is an astonishingly accessible account of all the major elements— environmental, social, biochemical, psychological, and neurological—related to crime and human violence...

Read Full Review of The Anatomy of Violence: The ... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

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