[saymaListserv] FW: Life-changing book in stores now

Red & Deanna reddeanna at charter.net
Fri Jan 2 15:19:25 JEST 2004

Dear Friends,

Here are exerpts from two reviews of Kaethe Weingarten's book, Common Shock.

Library Journal is a journal which publishes book reviews for use of libraries making book selections.
Publishers Weekly is a magazine that publishes reviews for the book trade.

I hope this is helpful.

Deanna Nipp

Library Journal, Sept 1, 2003 v128 i14 p192(1) 
(Book Review) 
COPYRIGHT 2003 Reed Business Information 
Weingarten, Kaethe. Common Shock: Witnessing Violence Every Day; How We Are Harmed, How We Can Heal. Dutton. Sept. 2003. c.384p. bibliog. index. 0-525-94742-6. $24,95. 

Common Shock, meanwhile, is a more analytical treatment of a variety of ubiquitous violations that seem to be part of the modern human condition. Drawing on research findings, as well as professional experience in the fields of clinical psychology and family therapy, Weingarten (psychiatry, Harvard) develops the concept of "compassionate witnessing" as a key to transcending human suffering, if not curing or solving it. Four common sources of exposure to violence and violation are described, including illness and death, professionals' constant contact with personal tragedy, and extraordinary political violence akin to 9/11 or genocidal acts. She outlines physical and psychological responses to such experiences and suggests processes whereby their consequences are transmitted intergenerationally. Practical self-help techniques for personal and societal healing are provided. This intense and wide-ranging book--with its unique focus on witnesses rather than participants, rich case histories, strong international perspective, and extensive bibliography--would make a valuable addition to social science and professional counseling collections in public libraries. [Common Shock previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/03.]--Antoinette M. Brinkman, M.L.S., Evansville, IL.

Publishers Weekly, July 7, 2003 v250 i27 p65(1) 
  Common Shock: Witnessing Violence Every Day: How We are Harmed, How We Can Heal. (Nonfiction). (Book Review) 
Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2003 Reed Business Information 

KAETHE WEINGARTEN. Dutton, $24.95 (384p) ISBN 0-525-94742-6 

Weingarten defines "common shock" as the biological and physiological feeling that "is triggered by our being witness to an event or an interaction that we appraise as disturbing," which can range from watching a parent hit a child to watching a television news report about a terrorist bombing. She argues that this kind of common shock is an experience that can have "chronic debilitating effects," but that "few people know how to deal with it themselves or, crucially, help children do so." Drawing upon recent research as well as her work as part of the Witnessing Project (which helps individuals, families and communities deal with violence), Weingarten details typical interpersonal consequences of common shock, such as being driven into silence and losing trust in people. Her primary solution to common shock is encouraging people to act "as compassionate witnesses to others," as a way of helping others regain a "sense of safety" and community, and she states that research suggests that "small compassionate ac tions performed routinely could have a major impact." Weingarten may overexplain what seems to be a fairly straightforward idea, but she provides a beneficial service by responding to what is clearly a current social problem; the two appendices provide direct and useful recommendations for how to help others deal with the shock triggered by disturbing everyday events. (Sept.) 


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Kit Potter 
  To: SAYMA Listserve 
  Sent: Thursday, January 01, 2004 9:18 PM
  Subject: [saymaListserv] FW: Life-changing book in stores now

  Anyone know something about the book my cousin is mentioning here? Any feedback or reviews?

  Happy New Year,

  -----Original Message-----
  From: Warren Hoskins [mailto:warren at hoskins.org] 
  Sent: Thursday, January 01, 2004 8:40 PM
  To: oc-alum at asquared.info
  Subject: Life-changing book in stores now

  I read a lot, and sometimes get enthusiastic about a book.  This is a different kind of enthusiasm I am experiencing however.  I recommend gently but rather insistently that it will be very worthwhile to read COMMON SHOCK -- Witnessing Violence Every Day: How We Are Harmed, How We Can Heal, by Dr. Kaethe Weingarten (Dutton, September 2003), no matter where on the political spectrum you are, no matter your religion or tribe or other "demographic" subdivision of humanity.

  First, the writing connects. The "homework" has been done, in Dr. Weingarten's own practice and life, and in the places that life has taken her (Kosovo, and South Africa, as well as others).  This is potentially as big a book as something like I'M OK, YOU'RE OK, or THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE.  Second, even telling people about this book has brought forth hopeful reactions.  This is a book which looks at process, at procedures, and at how we function biologically and socially--it is true about humanity, not just about Western civilization.

  And, I want your help.  I would like to see intelligent criticism of this book, of its research and writing. I really want to know what its perceived flaws are (aside from typos that got through).  I doubt very much that what is found would change my mind about what I feel is revealed as true in this book, but it would help me to see what others are likely to take issue with.

  I found it in the bookstore at Oberlin that shares the Ben Franklin 5 & 10 -- Mindscape? Mindspring? SOmething like that.  Wonderful books, including an excellent assortment for children.  I have been reading my way through COMMON SHOCK like it is required reading for a course--the course for the rest of my life, I suspect.  I also want to look at (but have not yet, so I am sending this on in trust that there is something there) the related web site Dr. Weingarten is affiliated with: http://www.witnessingproject.org --to see what may be there.  



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