Fatherless Sons – Jonathan Diamond

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Fatherless Sons – Jonathan Diamond

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Diamond's father, whose lectures at Princeton were noted for their humor, was also a batterer who abused his wives and children. Psychotherapist Diamond's moving account of his relationship with his father is a nuanced exploration of mourning and its aftermath.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Diamond's father, whose lectures at Princeton were noted for their humor, was also a batterer who abused his wives and children. Psychotherapist Diamond's moving account of his relationship with his father is a nuanced exploration of mourning and its aftermath. The author also discusses the role his mother played, despite her lifelong alcoholism, in protecting him from his father's episodic, mercurial rage. The author's father contacted and attended meetings of a batterer's program shortly before he died, which permitted Diamond to feel compassion and love for his parent. His childhood experiences have made Diamond constantly aware of how he expresses anger toward his own young sons. Interwoven with stories about his father are the experiences of other men, drawn from the author's practice, that illuminate a son's trauma when he is faced with the death of a male parent. One man, who at the age of 15 discovered his father hanging from a beam in the basement, deals 25 years later with the fact that his father, beloved by family and neighbors, was often depressed. For Diamond, his father left one positive legacy, a physically demonstrative nature. Diamond recommends physical affection between father and son, saying "[h]ugging is one of the best ways… to introduce hope into a strained or broken relationship…." (Aug.)

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Review

Diamond's father, whose lectures at Princeton were noted for their humor, was also a batterer who abused his wives and children. Psychotherapist Diamond's moving account of his relationship with his father is a nuanced exploration of mourning and its aftermath. The author also discusses the role his mother played, despite her lifelong alcoholism, in protecting him from his father's episodic, mercurial rage. The author's father contacted and attended meetings of a batterer's program shortly before he died, which permitted Diamond to feel compassion and love for his parent. His childhood experiences have made Diamond constantly aware of how he expresses anger toward his own young sons. Interwoven with stories about his father are the experiences of other men, drawn from the author's practice, that illuminate a son's trauma when he is faced with the death of a male parent. One man, who at the age of 15 discovered his father hanging from a beam in the basement, deals 25 years later with the fact that his father, beloved by family and neighbors, was often depressed. For Diamond, his father left one positive legacy, a physically demonstrative nature. Diamond recommends physical affection between father and son, saying "[h]ugging is one of the best ways… to introduce hope into a strained or broken relationship…."(Aug.) (Publishers Weekly, May 22, 2006)

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From the Inside Flap

Years of training and a successful psychotherapy practice taught Jonathan Diamond how to guide others through the grieving process. Then he learned his own father, with whom he shared a tumultuous relationship, was dying. Suddenly, Diamond found himself ambushed by the intensity of his own feelings. The son of a popular Princeton professor, Diamond alone knew what his father's adoring students and admiring colleagues did not: the explosive rage, the outbursts of violence, the unbearable anxiety—and the equally fierce love that father and son felt for each other nonetheless.

For men whose relationship with their fathers has been marred by conflict, abuse, or indifference, death extinguishes any hope of really knowing the man. Even before their fathers die, these men's grief is more about the loss of what could have been than the loss of what was. Many try to escape their feelings with anger or avoidance only to find that neither brings relief.

While navigating his own emotions, Diamond discovered that mourning a violent and abusive father becomes an attempt to take back what was stolen—an act of defiance and hope. In Fatherless Sons, the author shares with great candor his personal journey through this largely uncharted territory. Drawing upon his own experiences and those shared by his clients, Diamond provides tools for untangling the confusion in the father-son relationship, releasing the past, and celebrating the good. On this road, many men will discover for the first time an opportunity to make peace with their deceased fathers, interrupt the cycle of violence, and free their own children from a legacy of unfinished grieving and unacknowledged pain.

Whether it is yourself you see in these pages or someone you love, here you will find many moving, illuminating, and ultimately redemptive stories framed by Diamond's vivid analysis and reflections. Men and those who love them will find Fatherless Sons a powerful celebration of healing and a path to reconciliation and acceptance.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Fatherless Sons

"Research shows that most men now are better fathers than their own fathers were to them. A generation of men are 'making it up,' giving to their children more than they received. No one describes the poignancy—and hope—of contemporary fatherhood better than Jonathan Diamond's heartfelt and insightful new book. For every man who had a father—and who wants to be one."

—Terrence Real, author of I Don't Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression and How Can I Get Through to You?: Closing the Intimacy Gap Between Men and Women

"Diamond's moving account of his relationship with his father is a nuanced exploration of mourning and its aftermath."

Publishers Weekly

"This is a powerful and beautiful book, written with warmth, humor, and generosity of spirit. Fatherless Sons guides us through the complex journey of grief, helping to transform pain and anguish into hope and healing."

—Dr. Dusty Miller, author of Your Surviving Spirit and Women Who Hurt Themselves

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