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Spielman, R. (1997). The Birth Of Hatred: Developmental, Clinical, And Technical Aspects Of Intense Aggression. Edited by Salman Akhtar, Selma Kramer, and Henri Parens. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1995, xii + 172 pp., $27.50.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 45:1003-1005.

(1997). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 45:1003-1005

The Birth Of Hatred: Developmental, Clinical, And Technical Aspects Of Intense Aggression. Edited by Salman Akhtar, Selma Kramer, and Henri Parens. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1995, xii + 172 pp., $27.50.

Review by:
Ron Spielman

This relatively slim volume tackles a relatively big subject. The eight chapters (three major presentations and their discussants, an introductory and a concluding paper) represent the papers presented at the Twenty-fifth Annual Margaret S. Mahler Symposium on Child Development held in April 1994. As such, the book has both the advantages and disadvantages of being a collection of papers by various authors. The advantages of variety of content, point of view, and style of writing are set against the disadvantages of some repetition, lack of integration of the ideas presented, and incomplete coverage of the field of inquiry. While each of the chapters is interesting to read in its own right, one will be left with more questions than answers as to the origins of hatred—whatever they may be. Hatred is discussed along with nondestructive aggression, destructive aggression, rage, denigration, envy, anger, hostility, sadism, revenge, and violence.

In “Parents' Hatred of Their Children,” Selma Kramer introduces the book by wondering if it is a manifestation of intergenerational hatred that old men send their sons to war. Harold Blum, in “Sanctified Aggression, Hate, and the Alteration of Standards,” and Henri Parens, in his discussion chapter (“Notes on Perversions of the Superego by Hate”), explore the relationship of hate to its manifestations in social, intergroup, interracial, and international spheres, and its role in influencing individual and group moral systems.

In “Hatred as a Core Affect of Aggression,” Otto Kernberg draws heavily, as one might expect, on his considerable experience and knowledge of severe primitive personality disorders to focus on the individual psychopathology of hatred.

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