Boris Cyrulnik is an internationally-renowned psychologist and leading proponent of the theory of resilience: that we are much more capable of overcoming traumatic events in our lives than we imagine. Working with genocide victims in Rwanda and child soldiers in Colombia, he travels around the world helping individuals and countries come to terms with their pasts to create positive new outlooks. Author of numerous books on resilience and its possibilities in childhood and throughout life, this is the first time Resilience has been published in Britain. An international bestseller, his work has been credited with helping France heal the wounds left by the Second World War. Born in 1937, Cyrulnik's parents were deported to a concentration camp and never returned. Maltreated by his foster parents, he was eventually chosen as a runner in the liberation, perilously crossing enemy lines to deliver messages to French fighters. He was seven. This personal trauma helped him develop his belief that trauma is not destiny.
According to world-renowned neuropsychiatrist and psychologist Cyrulnick, history is not destiny. He uses his own experience and his work with orphaned and abused children to demonstrate how people can triumph over adversity. Each of the four chapters includes examples of those who have coped by using a variety of techniques-e.g., integrating their stories into the collective history of the environments in which they lived, using their memories to spur creative ventures, or reworking horrific actions, commitments, and narratives. He essentially offers hope through documenting the stories of individuals who have overcome incredible adversity. Salzer, member of the Rape Abuse Incest National Network's Speakers Bureau, takes on the same subject with more of a how-to than an explanatory approach. She asserts that one does not have to revisit the pain to work through it but instead needs to visualize oneself as a survivor instead of a victim. Some of the tools for strengthening resilience include flexibility, accountability, self-efficacy, and community. Salzer discusses each concept at length, provides case studies, and explains how to develop each attribute. Both books are written from the heart and with sound psychology to provide help to readers. Cyrulnik presents inspiring reading about those who have triumphed, and Salzer gives a road map for how to get there. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.