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The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog
And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook--What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About
Bruce Perry
read on December 5, 2019

This was really good - a book a bit in the Oliver Sacks' style of one-anecdote-per-chapter, each focusing on a case when severe abuse (often from neglect rather than a more active abuse) on a child led to catastrophic consequences to their development and behaviors as an adult. Each of the cases were very interesting. I did get the slight impression that Perry had a "when all you have is a hammer, everything is a nail" mentality though. I mean, it's his book, so it makes sense that the examples he used here were cherry picked as the clearest and most compelling, but he very much struck me a bit as though he though all personality disorders and/or deviant behavior stem from early childhood abuse. In terms of "nature vs nurture", he leans super hard on the nurture. When doing an evaluation (in the book), he never really thinks about running a cat scan, or inquiring about other genetic or physical predispositions. I found this odd, but again, his book. Overall, super interesting and a great companion to Sacks.

One tidbit that stuck with me: the resting heartrate of the Waco Devidian Children was 160! Wow.

Author Bio:

Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D. is the Senior Fellow of The ChildTrauma Academy, a not-for-profit organization based in Houston (www.ChildTrauma.org) and adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago. Dr. Perry is the author, with Maia Szalavitz, of The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog, a bestselling book based on his work with maltreated children and Born For Love: Why Empathy is Essential and Endangered. Over the last thirty years, Dr. Perry has been an active teacher, clinician and researcher in children's mental health and the neurosciences holding a variety of academic positions.