Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE GIFT OF FEAR by Gavin de Becker

THE GIFT OF FEAR

Survival Signals that Protect Us from Violence

By Gavin de Becker

Pub Date: June 9th, 1997
ISBN: 0-316-23502-4
Publisher: Little, Brown

 ``The energy of violence,'' de Becker asserts, ``moves through our culture,'' and ``nobody is untouched.'' A high-profile consultant on the ``prediction and management of violence,'' de Becker offers a sometimes startling mixture of autobiography, anecdote, and detailed, even scholarly, examinations of the various qualities that contribute to violent situations, as well as the escalating stages that violent confrontations (between an abusive spouse and his mate, a criminal and his prey, a stalker and his target) follow. His basic argument here--that all of us really do know when we are in the presence of danger, though we frequently deny it, ignoring the telltale signs of a serious threat--is persuasive, and there's much in his specifics about violent behavior and how to read it that's likely to prove useful to readers, but the overlong and somewhat overly detailed text (it's uncertain at times whether this book is intended for individuals, law enforcement agents, or scholars) sometimes obscures those points.