Mar 24, 2009

Wolf Children and the Problem of Human Nature

by Lucien Malson

Another book I read about feral children several years ago. Wolf Children and the Problem of Human Nature examines numerous cases of "feral children" who for the most part were abandoned at a young age and left to fend for themselves in the wild before being discovered by someone and brought back into civilization. Unlike the other books I read which tried to determine if these children could have been raised by animals and picked apart which aspects of human behavior are learned or intuitive; this book focuses (more practically, I felt) on how the lack of social contact at such an early age affects the overall development of the child. In most cases it was pretty severe and almost irreversible. Most of the accounts were very brief with little details available; some editions of this book also include the entire text of The Wild Boy of Aveyron, as it is one of the more well-documented accounts. I expected this book to be very dry, technical reading, but was surprised to find that it felt more like reading an essay, and the writing style reminded me a lot of Konrad Lorenz.

Rating: 3/5                          179 pages, 1972


TheBlackSheep said...

That looks interesting, even if it is a bit technical.

Chris said...

This sounds really cool! I've always been interested in this subject...will have to check it out!

Jeane said...

BlackSheep- for all the technicalities, it was actually a fairly easy read.

Chris- I hope you like it. I've reviewed several other books like this- do a search for "feral children" or "wolf children" on my browser bar and half a dozen should crop up.