My first nonfiction book since HELPING THE FEARFUL CHILD, a book for parents, published in 1981. I was asked by an editor at Random House’s Library of Contemporary Thought to pen a short volume on a topic that interested me. Normally, I’d refuse; writing fiction’s too much fun to set aside for facts, figures, references, and all the stuff nonfictions writers are supposed to supply. But I was taking a breather between novels and a rash of school violence got me wondering about the psychosocial origins of extreme aggression and violence in children. I approached the topic from what I’d like to think was an open mind. What I learned surprised me.

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