THE WAR AGAINST CHILDREN by Peter R. Breggin

THE WAR AGAINST CHILDREN

KIRKUS REVIEW

 A passionate diatribe against the use of drugs to treat children who act out violently. In 1992 the authors--he is director of the Center for the Study of Psychiatry and author of Toxic Psychiatry (1991); she is the center's director of research and public education--launched a national campaign against the proposed federal ``Violence Initiative'' that would identify inner-city youths who are likely to become violent when they grow up and treat them with drugs such as Ritalin. This, they contend, is unethical and racist (since the majority of such youngsters are black), a ploy to allow society to evade its responsibilities to children. Though some of their arguments have validity, they fail to convince, heaping their harangue with half-truths and generalizations. For example, they state that ``no so-called psychiatric disorder has ever proven to be genetic,'' summarily trashing all the research linking schizophrenia and manic depression to genetic factors. The authors contend throughout that ``when treated with respect, children tend to respond respectfully. When loved, they tend to be loving''- -thereby thrusting all blame for children's problems onto parents and other caretakers. Also perturbing is their sense of the white majority as racists who would ``withhold hope from all children for fear of handing an undeserved or unwarranted benefit to the black child.'' Moving from weak logic to bad taste, they compare current government research to genocidal Nazi policies. While drugging potentially violent youngsters is not the answer to our nation's problems, this overwrought book (with chapter notes and bibliography) does not challenge that approach in a sober or convincing way.

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1994
ISBN: 0-312-11065-0
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1994




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