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Of the approximately 38,500 deaths by suicide in the U.S. annually, about two percent--between 750 and 800--are murder-suicides. The horror of murder-suicides looms large in the public consciousness--they are reported in the media with more frequency and far more sensationalism than most suicides, and yet we have little understanding of this grave form of violence. In The Perversion of Virtue, leading suicide researcher Thomas Joiner explores the nature of murder-suicide and offers a unique new theory to explain this nearly unexplainable act: that murder-suicides always involve the wrongheaded invocation of one of four interpersonal virtues: mercy, justice, duty, and glory. The parent who murders his child and then himself seeks to save his child from a fatherless life of hardship; the wife who murders her husband and then herself seeks to right the wrongs he committed against her, and so on. Murder-suicides involve the gross misperception of when and how these four virtues should be applied. Drawing from extensive research as well as real examples from the media, Joiner meticulously examines, deconstructs, and finally rebuilds our understanding of murder-suicide in such a way that brings tragic reason to what may seem an unfathomable act of violence. Along the way, he dispels some of the most enduring myths of suicide--for instance, that suicide is usually an impulsive act (it is almost always pre-meditated), or that alcohol or drugs are involved in most suicides (usually they are not). Sure to be controversial, this book seeks to make sense of one of the most difficult-to-comprehend types of violence in modern society, shedding new light that will ultimately lead to better understanding and even prevention.
Of the approximately 38,500 deaths by suicide in the U.S. annually, about two percent--between 750 and 800--are murder-suicides. The horror of murder-suicides looms large in the public consciousness--they are reported in the media with more frequency and far more sensationalism than most suicides, and yet we have little understanding of this grave form of violence. In The Perversion of Virtue, leading suicide researcher Thomas Joiner explores the nature of murder-suicide and offers a unique new theory to explain this nearly unexplainable act: that murder-suicides always involve the wrongheaded invocation of one of four interpersonal virtues: mercy, justice, duty, and glory. The parent who murders his child and then himself seeks to save his child from a fatherless life of hardship; the wife who murders her husband and then herself seeks to right the wrongs he committed against her, and so on. Murder-suicides involve the gross misperception of when and how these four virtues should be applied. Drawing from extensive research as well as real examples from the media, Joiner meticulously examines, deconstructs, and finally rebuilds our understanding of murder-suicide in such a way that brings tragic reason to what may seem an unfathomable act of violence. Along the way, he dispels some of the most enduring myths of suicide--for instance, that suicide is usually an impulsive act (it is almost always pre-meditated), or that alcohol or drugs are involved in most suicides (usually they are not). Sure to be controversial, this book seeks to make sense of one of the most difficult-to-comprehend types of violence in modern society, shedding new light that will ultimately lead to better understanding and even prevention.
Men appear to enjoy many advantages in society-on average they make more money, have more power, and enjoy a greater degree of social freedom than women. But many men pay a high price for the pursuit of success and power. Taking family and friends for granted, men will often let relationships take a back seat to their professional ambitions, only to ultimately find themselves with few real friends they can rely on in hard times. As a result, they turn to affairs, alcohol, and other self-destructive behaviors. Sadly, millions of men suffer untreated depression. In this groundbreaking and provocative book, award-winning clinical psychologist Thomas Joiner makes an impassioned call for society to recognize the harmful effects that solitude can have on men. Drawing on original research done for the National Institute of Mental Health, he focuses on the particular situations that leave men rudderless. He offers advice on support systems that are most useful to men, and he offers prescriptive advice on how men can improve their lives.
A contemplative practice with Buddhist roots, mindfulness is "the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present-moment, non-judgmentally." Practicing mindfulness can be an effective adjunct in treating psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, and addiction. But have we gone too far with mindfulness? Recent books on the topic reveal a troubling corruption of mindfulness practice for commercial gain, with self-help celebrities hawking mindfulness as the next "miracle drug." Furthermore, common misunderstanding of what mindfulness really is seems to be fueled by a widespread cultural trend toward narcissism, egocentricity, and self-absorption. Thomas Joiner's Mindlessness chronicles the promising rise of mindfulness and its perhaps inevitable degradation. Giving mindfulness its full due, both as a useful philosophical vantage point and as a means to address various life challenges, Joiner mercilessly charts how narcissism has intertwined with and co-opted the practice to create a Frankenstein's monster of cultural solipsism and self-importance. He examines the dispiriting consequences for many sectors of society (e.g., mental health, education, politics) and ponders ways to mitigate, if not undo, them. Mining a rich body of research, Joiner also makes use of material from popular culture, literature, social media, and personal experience in order to expose the misuse of mindfulness and to consider how we as a society can back away from the brink, salvaging a potentially valuable technique for improving mental and physical wellbeing.
Drawing on extensive clinical and epidemiological evidence, as well as personal experience, Thomas Joiner provides the most coherent and persuasive explanation ever given of why and how people overcome life's strongest instinct, self-preservation. He tests his theory against diverse facts about suicide rates among men and women; white and African-American men; anorexics, athletes, prostitutes, and physicians; members of cults, sports fans, and citizens of nations in crisis.
From acclaimed classical historian, author of Ghost on the Throne (“Gripping . . . the narrative verve of a born writer and the erudition of a scholar” —Daniel Mendelsohn) and editor of The Landmark Arrian:The Campaign of Alexander (“Thrilling” —The New York Times Book Review), a high-stakes drama full of murder, madness, tyranny, perversion, with the sweep of history on the grand scale. At the center, the tumultuous life of Seneca, ancient Rome’s preeminent writer and philosopher, beginning with banishment in his fifties and subsequent appointment as tutor to twelve-year-old Nero, future emperor of Rome. Controlling them both, Nero’s mother, Julia Agrippina the Younger, Roman empress, great-granddaughter of the Emperor Augustus, sister of the Emperor Caligula, niece and fourth wife of Emperor Claudius. James Romm seamlessly weaves together the life and written words, the moral struggles, political intrigue, and bloody vengeance that enmeshed Seneca the Younger in the twisted imperial family and the perverse, paranoid regime of Emperor Nero, despot and madman. Romm writes that Seneca watched over Nero as teacher, moral guide, and surrogate father, and, at seventeen, when Nero abruptly ascended to become emperor of Rome, Seneca, a man never avid for political power became, with Nero, the ruler of the Roman Empire. We see how Seneca was able to control his young student, how, under Seneca’s influence, Nero ruled with intelligence and moderation, banned capital punishment, reduced taxes, gave slaves the right to file complaints against their owners, pardoned prisoners arrested for sedition. But with time, as Nero grew vain and disillusioned, Seneca was unable to hold sway over the emperor, and between Nero’s mother, Agrippina—thought to have poisoned her second husband, and her third, who was her uncle (Claudius), and rumored to have entered into an incestuous relationship with her son—and Nero’s father, described by Suetonius as a murderer and cheat charged with treason, adultery, and incest, how long could the young Nero have been contained? Dying Every Day is a portrait of Seneca’s moral struggle in the midst of madness and excess. In his treatises, Seneca preached a rigorous ethical creed, exalting heroes who defied danger to do what was right or embrace a noble death. As Nero’s adviser, Seneca was presented with a more complex set of choices, as the only man capable of summoning the better aspect of Nero’s nature, yet, remaining at Nero’s side and colluding in the evil regime he created. Dying Every Day is the first book to tell the compelling and nightmarish story of the philosopher-poet who was almost a king, tied to a tyrant—as Seneca, the paragon of reason, watched his student spiral into madness and whose descent saw five family murders, the Fire of Rome, and a savage purge that destroyed the supreme minds of the Senate’s golden age.
Written with the same graceful narrative voice that made his bestselling National Book Award finalist The Big House such a success, George Howe Colt's November of the Soul is a compassionate, compelling, thought-provoking, and exhaustive investigation into the subject of suicide. Drawing on hundreds of in-depth interviews and a fascinating survey of current knowledge, Colt provides moving case studies to offer insight into all aspects of suicide -- its cultural history, the latest biological and psychological research, the possibilities of prevention, the complexities of the right-to-die movement, and the effects on suicide's survivors. Presented with deep compassion and humanity, November of the Soul is an invaluable contribution not only to our understanding of suicide but also of the human condition.

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