Cover image for Savage spawn : reflections on violent children
Title:
Savage spawn : reflections on violent children
Author:
Kellerman, Jonathan.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Ballantine Pub. Group, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
134 pages ; 21 cm.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780345429391
Format :
Book

Available:*

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Central Library RJ506.V56 K45 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

This thought-provoking and timely booknbsp;from a #1 New York Times bestselling novelist and noted child psychologist reveals the factors that often lead to explosive and shocking juvenile violence.

"Ethically and morally, kids are works in progress. Throw in psychopathy and you've got a soul that will never be complete."

In this powerful, disturbing book, bestselling author and noted child psychologist Jonathan Kellerman shines a penetrating light on antisocial youth--kids who kill without remorse--asserting that "psychopathic tendencies begin very early in life, as young as three, and they endure."nbsp;Criticizing our quick impulse to blame violent movies or a "morally bankrupt"nbsp;society, Kellerman convinces us that it is the kids themselves who need to be examined. Carefully.

How do children become cold-blooded killers? Kellerman warns that today's aggressive bully is tomorrow's Mafia don, cult leader, or genocidal dictator. Violently psychopathic youths possess an overriding need for power, control, and stimulation, and all display a complete lack of regard for the humanity of others. He examines the origins of psychopathy and the ever-shifting debate between nurture and nature, offering some controversial solutions to dealing with homicidal tendencies in children.

As timely as today's headlines, more gripping than fiction, Savage Spawn is a provocative look at the links between society and biology, children and violence. Kellerman's sobering message will remain with you long after the last page is turned.


Author Notes

Jonathan Kellerman is one of the world's most popular authors. He has brought his expertise as a child psychologist to 16 consecutive bestselling novels of suspense, including The Butcher's Theater, Jerusalem, and Billy Straight and 32 previous Alex Delaware novels, translated into two dozen languages. He is also the author of numerous essays, short stories, and scientific articles, two children's books, and three volumes on psychology, including Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children.

(Publisher Provided) Jonathan Kellerman was born in New York City on August 9, 1949 and raised in Los Angeles. He received a B.A. in Psychology from UCLA and a Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Southern California. At the age of 22, he won the Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award for fiction.

He has served as Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Psychology at the School of Medicine at USC and as a consultant to the State of California, the U.S. Army and the Superior Court of Los Angeles. He is the founding director of the Psychosocial Program at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. The first books he published were medical texts: Psychological Aspects of Childhood Cancer (1980) and Helping the Fearful Child (1981).

His first novel, When the Bough Breaks (1985), was made into a television movie and received the Edgar Allan Poe and Anthony Boucher awards. He has also written many bestselling crime novels featuring the Alex Delaware series, children's books, and nonfiction works. His fiction book, co-authored with son Jesse Kellerman, The Golem of Hollywood, made the New York Times bestseller list in 2014. His recent books include The Murderer's Daughter and Breakdown.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Novelist Kellerman, a child psychologist who often uses the fictional character of Dr. Alex Delaware as his foil, here tackles the hot topic of violent children in a nonfiction formatÄpart of the ongoing Library of Contemporary Thought series. Using the recent school shootings in Oregon, Arkansas and Colorado as a hook, he vents his own views on "childhood criminality as a social destructor." Relying on personal case histories, he provides a general profile for kiddie psychopaths. Mostly boys, from all kinds of backgrounds, these habitually violent kids are marked by their bravado and lack of conscience. In short, they're cold-blooded monsters who, when given access to guns, become deadly threats. Kellerman's personal views can be shrill, even alarmist, as he rails against such ills as "Marxist-derived social science norms," yet this novelist-on-a-soapbox diatribe plays convincingly in Gilliland's forceful reading, like an artfully constructed public speech. Based on the 1999 Ballantine paperback. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Excerpts

Excerpts

An Idea That Wouldn't Go Away I know the exact day I decided to write this book. I love writing novels, am obsessive about writing novels, resent anything that gets in the way of writing novels. Sometimes this single-mindedness conflicts with a cranky, highly opinionated disposition, most evident during the early morning hours, that presses me to vent spleen in print. Fortunately, a combination of deep breathing, strong coffee, and solitude usually prevails, and yet another page is added to the mountain of unwritten letters to the editor and op-ed pieces moldering in some dark corner at the back of my skull. Thursday, March 26, 1998, was different. My novel in progress was nearly completed, but I wanted nothing to do with it. The day before, Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden of Jonesboro, Arkansas, had dressed in camouflage garb, stolen a van, filled it with a tent, a sleeping bag, tools, food, and enormous quantities of ammunition and stolen weapons. Thus equipped, they drove to nearby Westside Middle School, where they set off the fire alarm. As the bells clanged, Johnson and Golden ran for cover behind a wooden ridge, waited for students and teachers to emerge, then unleashed a fusillade. Four little girls and a teacher were killed. Ten other children and a teacher were wounded. A motive was suggested: Mitchell Johnson had been jilted by a girl. No rationale was offered for Andrew Golden's behavior. Both Johnson and Golden had warned other children they were going to kill someone. Both had troubled pasts, but no one took them seriously. One hundred thirty-four spent shells were found at the crime scene, ranging from rat shot to .357 Magnum bullets. In Andrew Golden's pockets were 312 more shells. Johnson and Golden's arsenal consisted of a .30-06 Remington rifle, a Ruger .44 Magnum rifle, a Universal .30 carbine, a Davis Industry .38 special two-shot, an FIE .380 handgun, a Ruger Security Six .357 revolver, a Remington model 742 .30-06 rifle, a Smith & Wesson .38 pistol, a Double Deuce Buddie two-shot derringer, a Charter Arms .38 special pistol, a Star .380 semiautomatic, six knives, and two speed loaders. At the time of the attack, Mitchell Johnson was thirteen years old, Andrew Golden eleven. The Jonesboro massacre wasn't the first of its type--several other school slaughters carried out by youths had occurred within recent months. Nor would it be the last. Two months later to the day, fifteen-year-old Kipland Kinkel, of Springfield, Oregon, would slay his parents in the family home, steal the family car, drive to Thurston High School, enter the cafeteria, and spray the room with bullets from a semiautomatic rifle, killing two students and wounding twenty-two others. Inadequately searched by the police, Kinkel would be taken into custody with a knife strapped to his leg and, soon after, would attempt to escape by stabbing a cop. Childhood violence is by no means confined to the bloody rampages of small-town white boys. Drive-by shootings committed by urban gangbangers, usually members of racial and ethnic minorities, proceed with regularity, never attracting the level of media attention and pontification elicited by the Johnsons, Goldens, and Kinkels of our time. A bit of covert racism, perhaps? We don't expect it of white kids? Nevertheless, something about the horror perpetrated by Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden seemed especially nauseating: to be so young and yet kill with such a finely honed sense of premeditation. To be so cold. I'd been trained as a child clinical psychologist, worked for two decades at a major urban hospital and as a private practitioner, had witnessed plenty of psychopathology firsthand. But on March 26, 1998, my education and experience seemed pathetically inadequate. I struggled to make sense of the rampage. Was there anything I'd learned about human development that could come close to explaining calculated slaughter carried out by a fresh-faced pair who hadn't even nudged puberty? Mitchell Johnson and Drew Golden's bloody adventure kept me up all night. On Thursday morning I was feeling pretty ragged and no more enlightened. I retired to my office, closed the door, turned off the phone, did a lot of thinking, reviewed dozens of books and scores of scholarly articles, meandered mentally through hundreds of case histories, and thought some more. Then I sat down, composed an essay, and sent it to Glen Nishimura, op-ed editor at USA Today, where it was published the following morning. Late in the afternoon of the twenty-sixth, before I heard back from Nishimura, I received a phone call from my literary agent, Barney Karpfinger. Well aware of my reluctance to interrupt my fiction writing, he wondered nonetheless if I'd consider a nonfiction project: Peter Gethers, vice president and editor at large at Random House, had created a series titled The Library of Contemporary Thought, a collection of short books, issued monthly, authored by established writers on topics that resonated for them personally. My name had come up: Would I be willing to contribute a volume on childhood violence? "Barney," I said, "I've already started." Excerpted from Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children by Jonathan Kellerman All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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