IPT Book Reviews

Title: Filicide: The Murder, Humiliation, Mutilation, Denigration and Abandonment of Children by Parents
Author: Arnaldo Rascovsky (translated by Susan H. Rogers)
Publisher: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1995

Jason Aronson, Inc.
230 Livingston Street
Northvale, NJ 077647
(800) 782-0015
$25.00 (p)

This 270-page book, written by an Argentine psychoanalyst and translated into English, is divided three parts. Part 1 deals with the history of filicide, part 2 with filicide in literature, and part 3 with the author's own thoughts and theories about filicide.  The book closes with an index and a dated set of references.

Rascovsky's theory is that filicide has been a common theme in Western literature for at least 1000 years, however, he provides few references to support this assertion. He assumes that parent killers are heroes and that parents want both child death and child survival. The entire book is filled with unsupported assumptions, psychobabble, and dated references.

Rascovsky's solution to the problem of abuse is (1) more scientific study of the motivation for child murder, (2) increased education of parents on child development, and (3) constant denunciation of child murder and the rights of children. But he offers no concrete solutions to the implementation of these suggestions. He refers to "the inner child" without mentioning the drawbacks of this theory and appears fixated on childhood experiences as the explanation for later adult problems. He contradicts himself; at one point he states that there are few cases of child murder, but later asserts that murder has a "high frequency."

This book is little more than an expression of the author's own prejudices and theories and adds nothing to the field.

Reviewed by LeRoy G. Schultz, Emeritus Professor of Social Work, West Virginia University.

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