Foreword by David Sloan Wilson, author of Evolution for Everyone
"Riveting and disturbing, an investigation into American-heartland pathos in which 'guilt,' 'innocence,' 'victim,' 'perpetrator,' come to seem almost hopelessly tangled. Barbara Oakley is to be commended for looking so hard and so closely at the motives, in some, that underlie acts of 'kindness' and 'altruism'—suggesting that things are not always as they appear, and the phrase killed with kindness springs from the absolute bedrock of folk wisdom."
—Joyce Carol Oates, professor of the arts at Princeton University;
recipient of the National Book Award for her novel them;
Pulitzer Prize nominee for novels Black Water, What I Lived For, and Blonde;
and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters
“Cold-Blooded Kindness is a terrific book. It combines old-fashioned narrative skills with new insights from science and a tough-minded view of good and evil that is neither sentimental nor cynical.”
—Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University,
and author of How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate
Are some people predisposed to kindness to the point of being destructive to themselves and others? How much of our help is fulfilling our own needs—including those of our hidden passions?
This is the true story of Carole Alden, a brilliant, yet eccentric mother of five, who evinced a deep and abiding need to help society’s outcasts. At her rural homestead an adopted pony mingled with llamas, goats, emus, and dozens of other creatures, familiar and exotic. But Carole’s expressed desire to help others extended beyond the animals she took in. It extended beyond her meager resources, even beyond the children she insisted she loved, yet sometimes left neglected in a surreal world of danger.
Finally, in the remote reaches of Utah’s Great Basin, Carole Alden shot and killed her husband. Dragging his heavy body from the house, she headed for a makeshift grave. Was the murder self-defense? Premeditated? Or was something else altogether at hand?
In this searing exploration of deadly codependency, Barbara Oakley—acclaimed author of the bestselling Evil Genes—takes the reader on a spellbinding voyage of discovery that examines the questions: Are some people naturally too caring? Is caring sometimes a mask for darker motives? Can science help us understand how our concerns for others can hurt everything we hold dear?
This gripping story brings extraordinary insight to our deepest questions. Is kindness always the right answer? Is kindness always what it seems?
Pages: 387 (photos)
Shipping Weight: 2lbs
Barbara Oakley, PhD, has been dubbed a female Indiana Jones — her writing combines worldwide adventure with solid research expertise. Among other adventures, she has worked as a Russian translator on Soviet trawlers in the Bering Sea, served as radio operator at the South Pole Station in Antarctica, and risen from private to regular army captain in the U.S. Army. Currently an associate professor of engineering at Oakland University in Michigan, Oakley is a recent vice president of the world's largest bioengineering society and holds a doctorate in the integrative discipline of systems engineering. Her books include Cold-Blooded Kindness, Evil Genes, Hair of the Dog, and Pathological Altruism.
For more about Barbara Oakley, visit www.BarbaraOakley.com.