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Reviewed by: Jay Corzine, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Murray Straus' intent in writing Beating the Devil Out of Them is to convince both social scientists and the general public that the corporal punishment, or spanking, of children is a significant social problem in the United States. As a result, his prose blends the language of a social researcher with that of an advocate for a less violent society. The book's two major objectives are to underscore the relative absence of research on the effects of corporal punishment by sociologists, psychologists, and others and to marshal evidence that the hitting of children directly and indirectly contributes to several personal and social problems, including depression, low income, and violence.
Beating the Devil Out of Them is divided into three parts. The first four chapters define corporal punishment, outline the basic theses of the book, and address questions concerning the demographics of corporal punishment, e.g., how prevalent is it, who gets hit by whom, is it more common among some …