The Transcendent Child: Tales of Triumph Over the Past

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Basic Books, 1996 - Adult children of dysfunctional families - 229 pages
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First there was the "gifted child", then the "inner child". Now in an eloquent and inspiring new work, Lillian Rubin, bestselling author of Worlds of Pain and Intimate Strangers, brings us The Transcendent Child. She starts with a question few psychologists have asked, yet one that goes to the heart of our beliefs about character, growth, and our ability to learn from experience: How is it that some people manage to transcend even the most harsh and painful past? For the answer, Dr. Rubin turns to the life stories of adults who as children suffered the worst kinds of family and social pathology, yet found the path to rich and satisfying mature lives. There are no miraculous rebirths here, no otherworldly revelations, no clean slate on which a new life is cast. These adult lives are forged directly out of their past whose torments and wounds have left scars that sometimes make themselves felt in the present. But the same strength and determination that helped these people survive the trials of childhood also enable them to flourish in adulthood. In this important book, Lillian Rubin not only takes us deep into the lives of her subjects; she develops a theory that significantly enlarges and enriches our understanding of human development. In showing us how it is possible to overcome past privations, she offers hope and strength to those who are struggling to make a life in the face of adversity.

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THE TRANSCENDENT CHILD: Tales of Triumph Over the Past

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Why some people are able to transcend unimaginably harsh childhoods to become healthy, productive adults is the question explored in this often gut-wrenching study. The question holds more than ... Read full review

The transcendent child: tales of triumph over the past

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Sociologist and psychotherapist Rubin (Families on the Fault Line, LJ 2/15/94) has gathered together the stories of several remarkable people to try to figure out why they (and why she herself) were ... Read full review


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About the author (1996)

Lillian B. Rubin was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 13, 1924. She graduated from high school at the age of 15, was able to obtain a secretarial job, and was married at the age of 19. She had a daughter and worked at various jobs for over 20 years before enrolling in college in 1963. She received a B.A. in 1967 and a Ph.D. in sociology in 1971 from the University of California, Berkeley. After receiving postgraduate training as a psychotherapist, she began a dual career as a sociological researcher and a private therapist. She became a senior research associate at the Institute for the Study of Social Change at Berkeley, where she worked for many years while writing books. She wrote a series of popular books about the crippling effects of gender and class norms on human potential. Her books include Worlds of Pain: Life in the Working-Class Family, Women of a Certain Age: The Midlife Search for Self, Intimate Strangers: Men and Women Together, Just Friends: The Role of Friendship in Our Lives, Families on the Fault Line: America's Working Class Speaks about the Family, the Economy, Race, and Ethnicity, and The Transcendent Child: Tales of Triumph over the Past. She died on June 17, 2014 at the age of 90.

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