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Miller explores the backgrounds of extreme cases of self-destructive and violent individuals to further her theories on longterm consequences of abusive childrearing. Her conclusions about what creates a drug addict, a murderer, even a Hitler, stray far from psychoanalytic dogma about human nature. Miller paints a jolting picture of the violent world each generation helps shape when traditional upbringing, with its hidden cruelty, is perpetuated. She also offers a way out by striving to resensitize the child in the adult, to unlock an emotional life frozen in repression.