"Don't judge a book by its cover" could apply to Tracy Wilkinson's book. With its fancy cover, what looks like a potentially good book to peer into the world of the Vatican's exorcists and the subject of exorcism turns into haughty mockery of the subject matter, its practitioners and the afflicted.
Tracy Wilkinson, the author, is presented as "the Rome bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times". Surely, she should know to present a topic as a an unbiased reporter? Unfortunately, it turns out that Tracy can't help but show her blatant biases throughout most of the book. Through literary perversity, she mocks both the exorcists and the afflicted sufferers, sounding almost like a God-hating demon herself. Tracy casually presents and dismisses the inflicted sufferers as mentally ill "patients".
How does an author think and write? Garbage in, garbage out.
If you want to know how any author or anyone for that matter thinks,
just take a look at the books she reads and the sources she consults.
Turn to the Bibliography at the back of this book and you only see
2 reliable sources of the subject matter: Gabriele Amorth and Malachi Martin, people who have dealt and confronted with the issue first hand in person. Besides the Bible, the rest of her other sources were not even from the Vatican or the Catholic Church! They were from critics, skeptics and cynics. Remind yourself: what is the title of the book again? If you're to comment on any workings of the Catholic Church, would it not make sense for you to read and consult official church sources? She may have briefly interviewed a handful of exorcists but doesn't adequately show the contexts they work in.
Skeptics and unbelievers will remain as that. As with every supernatural cases, unless one has a direct personal experience, it be from Good or Evil, chances are, you won't experience anything and will be left wondering what goes on. You may stand outside the circles and snigger all you want, but you're not going to learn anything unless you experience these events first-hand as a direct participant and observe things from a first person perspectives. No use rehashing aruguments used by third-party arm-chair cynics who dismiss supernatural events and Intelligences simply because they themselves are lucky not to experience these things first hand. Those who have a direct personal experience of God or His enemies will know that there are things in this world that no scientist can explain and no Rationalist or skeptic can deny. No amount of Catholic-bashing or God-hating will nullify the subject matter that there is organized Evil out there that can be personified and is intelligent. Denial doesn't vanquish Evil. Ignorance may be bliss to you, but it doesn't solve afflictions.
Perhaps, the priests the author interviewed should have better placed her in the exact same rooms where they did their exorcisms and have her follow through the daily lives of the afflicted! Don't stay outside the rooms, dear, how are you supposed to witness anything first-hand from the outside? Tracy, if you're reading this book review, if you don't believe in that Evil Intelligences exist, take long working and study trips with American psychic researchers and demonologists like John Zaffis, Ralph Sarchie, Lorraine Warren. I recommend everyone check out books, study and take cases from John Zaffis, Ralph Sarchie, Ed and Lorraine Warren, and other professionals who have dealt with the subject first-hand from personal experience.
Don't waste a penny on Tracy Wilkinson's thoroughly disappointing book!
It could have been better. Like all the deceptive magic scams out there, this book merely looks promising, but doesn't deliver on its catchy title on its cover.
If you seriously want a more objective insight into the subject from a rational and thinking journalist's point of view, please go and read "The Rite: the making of a modern exorcist" by Matt Baglio. Journalist-author Matt Baglio has written for The Associated Press and the International Herald Tribune.
The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist
Hostage to the Devil: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Contemporary Americans
Interview With an Exorcist: An Insider's Look at the Devil, Demonic Possession, and the Path to Deliverance
The Dark Sacrament: True Stories of Modern-Day Demon Possession and Exorcism
An Exorcist Tells His Story
An Exorcist: More Stories
The Demonologist: The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren