The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime

Adrian Raine. Pantheon, $35 (528p) ISBN 978-0-307-37884-2
Neurocriminologist Raine is known for pioneering studies gauging long-term effects of environmental factors on neurological development. In his latest (after Psychopathology of Crime), the University of Pennsylvania professor explains how a startling number of early incidents can retard the development of the prefrontal cortex and other neural sites of learning, focus, and emotion, resulting in violence-prone adults. Indeed, from fetuses malnourished in the womb to children “ushered into the vestibule of violence before they could even sit up on their own,” to adults living near the Twin Towers on 9/11 (brain scans made three years later “showed a reduction in hippocampal gray-matter volumes”), no one is immune. However, Raine insists that drugs, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness training, exercise, and periods of “environmental enrichment”—like educating mothers about kids’ emotional, educational, and nutritional needs—can mitigate damage, and perhaps stave off violent tendencies down the road. Ultimately, Raine is optimistic: “We can use a set of biosocial keys to unlock the cause of crime—and set free those who are trapped by their biology.” Though sometimes dense, this is a passionately argued, well-written, and fascinating take on the biology of violence and its legal and ethical implications. 8-page color insert, b&w photos throughout. Agent: Eric Lupfer, William Morris Endeavor. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/25/2013
Release date: 04/30/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 357 pages - 978-0-307-90778-3
Ebook - 544 pages - 978-0-14-194613-9
Paperback - 478 pages - 978-0-307-47561-9
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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