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Greven’s pioneering work explores the religious and secular rationales for the physical punishment of American children through four centuries, the emotional and psychological consequences, and the resultant misshaping of American character and culture. Greven argues that physical punishment, from the mildest and most infrequent to the most severe and deadly, forms a continuum of violence that needs to be understood and then abandoned as the ordinary way of disciplining children.
“A gift from an enlightened historian to every person. It provides us with crucial information ignored or silenced through the world. A step toward a more enlightened and peaceful society.” —Alice Miller, author of For Your Own Good
“The great value of Spare the Child lies in its shock of awareness. The subject enters our minds and hearts in a new way, and we are forced to imagine a world in which the hitting of a child is against both the laws of both man and God.” —Chicago Tribune
“The force of Greven’s case serves to drive the reader to the book’s conclusion. . . . You cannot read [it] without reviewing your most fundamental attitudes about human behavior.”
—Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times