The Tyranny of Malice: Exploring the Dark Side of Character and Culture

Joseph H. Berke, Author Summit Books $24.45 (446p) ISBN 978-0-671-49753-8
Berke's premise is that envy, greed and jealousy are the hidden engine of human behavior, forged in the crucible of interpersonal conflict between sibling and sibling, parents and children. These destructive impulses are said to ultimately find expression in competing nationalisms and global wars. It is a promising thesis, but this entertaining hodge-podge does not support it. Berke, a British doctor, crams in a wealth of intriguing material on advertising tactics, womb envy, the nurturing breast, phallic amulets, witches and fairy tales as archaic memories of childhood, Victorian attitudes toward child sexuality, and much else. Trenchant observations (``Ivan Boesky was proud of both his financial success and his greed'') appear side-by-side with glib generalizations and oversimplifications (`` . . . the whole of Genesis is essentially a discourse about sibling rivalry''). In discussing institutionalized envy, Berke betrays his own biases against ``ingrateful'' Third-World nations, trade unions and welfare recipients. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Paperback - 978-0-671-68750-2
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