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Power and Innocence: A Search for the Sources of Violence

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  145 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Rollo May defines power as the ability to cause or prevent change; innocence, on the other hand, is the conscious divesting of one's power to make it seem a virtuea form of powerlessness that Dr. May sees as particularly American in nature. From these basic concepts he suggests a new ethic that sees power as the basis for both human goodness and evil.

Dr. May discusses five
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 17th 1998 by W. W. Norton Company (first published January 1st 1972)
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Charlie Canning
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The extraordinary thing about Rollo May's Power and Innocence: A Search for the Sources of Violence (1972) is that it has as much to say about Columbine, Virginia Tech, the Oklahoma Federal Building, Iraq, Afghanistan, Martin and Zimmerman, Snowden, and Syria as it does Charles Fairweather, Vietnam, Kent State, Frantz Fanon, and Daniel Ellsberg. All you need to do to update it is to plug-in new names. The thesis is as good as ever: Reducing an individual, a group or a nation state to a subhuman ...more
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Such a great book to help shed light on the origins of violence!

I think this quote sums up the book pretty nicely...

"Violence is a symptom. The disease is variously powerlessness, insignificance, injustice-in short, a conviction that I am less than human and I am homeless in the world."
Jun 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
sonunda bitirdim
ara ara kafamı kaldırıp "Ha bu ne diyi?" dediğim de oldu ancak uzun uzun konuşmaların sonunda bir yerde, bir paragrafta öyle bir çıkarım yapıyor ki "hah tamam" diyor insan "bu adam ne dediğini biliyor"...

May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, own
I originally found this book because Irvin Yalom had mentioned May as a significant influence, and because I’m interested in the ‘sources of violence’. The most significant thing I’m taking away from this book is the importance of insight into innocence and powerlessness. “Innocence as a shield from responsibility is also a shield from growth.” May cites the claim of the denial of power or the non-pursuit of power as a false innocence that allows an individual to act out violently without the ca ...more
Robert Woodman
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I first read Rollo May's Power and Innocence in 1983 or 1984 as an undergraduate class assignment. I have revisited it over the years as I find it to be a helpful, perceptive book about the human condition. I still have my undergraduate text, now worn, but with the highlights, underlining, and margin notes still there.

First published in 1972, and using examples in the text drawn from that period of time, May's book still informs today's thoughtful reader about power, powerlessness, innocence, an
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Essential! This books provides a firm foundation to stand on when approaching most any social situation or political discussion. The lens of power is itself empowering. Highly recommended for making sense of the current state of things in America. The language is clean and simple - it is a quick read.
Ade Bailey
Feb 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Abner Rosenweig
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Culture is more violent than ever. Mass shootings happen almost daily. The U.S. military-industrial complex spreads war to every corner of the world. Extreme patriarchal values celebrate strength, individualism, zero-sum scenarios, hyper-masculinity, and aggression over grace, community, communication, cooperation, love, and peace.

Society's out-of-control violence is a loud alarm screaming that things have gone seriously awry.

With Power and Innocence, May delivers an incisive look at violence,
Jeff Keehr
Aug 18, 2020 rated it liked it
I read this long before I started writing brief summaries of my take on books. I have no recollection of reading the book; I was 23 and reading a lot of stuff, all over the map. I think I found May by way of D. H. Laing or Sidney Jourard. Great times.
Hamad Majeed
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
An incredible academic work.
Declan Cochran
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
like if jordan peterson wasnt jordan peterson
Kirtida Gautam
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chakra-5, yin-yang
"Life consists of achieving good not apart from evil but in spite of it."
This is an interesting book that depicts how powerlessness and not power breeds violence.
Eliade Weismann
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
So much of this wisdom has had to be rediscovered in the decades since Rollo May left us. Read this if you wish to understand violence.
Rodger Broome
Oct 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Clinical Psychology Students
I really enjoyed the book and got some valuable insights from it. May's lack of theological training cannot be hidden. His Biblical references and theological commentaries are obviously more informed by his philosophy than his understanding of the text. But he is a psychologist and not a theologian.

Overall, there is some powerful insights and messages to the reader and it is well worth spending the time to do so.
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I found this book at a garage sale. I'm glad I found it because it was a fascinating book to read. It wasn't hard to understand and the author gave some great examples and his theories made good sense. ...more
Kaylabookworm22 L
Jan 19, 2012 rated it liked it
It was good but not my favorite book. I learned something from it though which was my main goal and it was an interesting read
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Apr 14, 2015
Nilüfer Atman Uslu
sanat siddetin yerine gecer. Bazi kisileri siddete iten durtuler sanatçıyı yaratmasi icin guduler ( alinti)
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Rollo May (April 21, 1909 – October 22, 1994) was an American existential psychologist. He authored the influential book Love and Will during 1969.

Although he is often associated with humanistic psychology, his philosophy was influenced strongly by existentialist philosophy. May was a close friend of the theologian Paul Tillich. His works include Love and Will and The Courage to Create, the latter

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