Customer Reviews


9 Reviews
5 star:
 (6)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worried and Angry
For those people who believe that most of what we're told is wrong, Richard Webster's painstaking analysis of recent child abuse cases provides ammunition a-plenty.
His work provokes equal measures of worry and anger.

If he is to be beleved, and I think he is, several lawyers and journalists, and a succession of others in public life, have failed to do...
Published on 12 April 2010 by Mr. P. W. Saunders

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars In October 2014, John Allen appeared at Mold Crown ...
In October 2014, John Allen appeared at Mold Crown Court accused of 40 counts of sexual abuse against 19 boys and one girl, aged between 7 and 15, during the 1960s and 1970s. At the time, Allen ran the Bryn Alyn Community which owned three children's residential homes near Wrexham. It was said that Allen employed child care staff at the homes, but involved himself in the...
Published 1 month ago by R. I. Peel


Most Helpful First | Newest First

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worried and Angry, 12 April 2010
By 
Mr. P. W. Saunders (BUNGAY, SUFFOLK Great Britain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
For those people who believe that most of what we're told is wrong, Richard Webster's painstaking analysis of recent child abuse cases provides ammunition a-plenty.
His work provokes equal measures of worry and anger.

If he is to be beleved, and I think he is, several lawyers and journalists, and a succession of others in public life, have failed to do their work with sufficient detachment or regard for actual evidence.

His forensic examination of events in North Wales has shown the Waterhouse Inquiry has hidden the truth, allowed liars to go unpunished, and started a witch hunt among care workers and in childrens' homes.

It is a very sorry and salutary tale, which curiously, a number of well regarded journalists seem unable to acknowledge.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moral Panic, 14 Oct. 2009
By 
Neutral "Phil" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
The Secret of Bryn Estyn, first published in 2005, is an indictment of the British press, judiciary, police and the chattering classes. The story represented the projection of the mythical into the public arena in the form of a moral panic. The story became a national scandal, paraded through the press whose peddling of pap was in itself a scandal of horrendous proportions. Fired by "superstitious secularism" - devised and subsequently discredited in North America - it found apologists such as the Marxist journalist Bea Campbell who proclaimed the existence of Satanic cults infiltrating whole communities. The damage done to the victims of such "crusading" journalism (snatched from loving homes by intellectually limited and professionally myopic social workers) was incalculable.

According to first reports Bryn Estyn was a network of evil - a paedophile ring whose members included a senior North Wales police officer and other public figures. Over a period of ten years thousands were accused and hundreds arrested using the now discredited system of police trawling which reversed the age old principle of innocent until proved guilty. As Webster made clear some allegations were made almost by police invitation. In many cases the motivation for the allegations was to make money. The alleged paedophile ring never existed. Just two men were convicted.

In 1999 the BBC broadcast a programme entitled A Place of Safety in which several former residents of Bryn Estyn made allegations against staff members. Yet all the accusers had left the institution before the accused staff members had joined and had never met them. At least five of the seven complainants had previously made allegations which had been proved to be manifestly false, yet their new allegations were uncritically accepted at face value.

Webster's complaint was that journalists, who should have pursued the truth, simply regurgitated falsehoods by neglecting their primary investigative duty. Facts were no longer sacred, opinion became "truth" and the journalists and false accusers received public awards which some, to their shame, have never acknowledged were bought at the expense of public trust and personal integrity. The recent case of alleged child abuse on Jersey shows the lesson has still not been learned and, meanwhile, the innocent remain in jail.

Webster never denied that some abuse took place. Indeed, he was relentless in his pursuit of the truth, identifying flaws in the police and public case against care workers, which transformed many baseless accusations into prosecutions by means of tactics worthy of a police state, in which the rules of normal justice were abandoned in order to "get a result". False allegations were effectively encouraged and believed by those who had the intelligence to know better but lacked the capacity to use it. The real result was systematic injustice. It was a modern day witch hunt which the subsequent Waterhouse Enquiry, which Webster regards as a "judicial disaster", failed to recognise, still less discover the truth which Webster so painstakingly uncovered.

I disagree with Webster's correlation of moral panic with the "continuing reverence for the idea of evil" which he considers is "not only unreal" but "part of a fantasy of righteousness which has been encouraged by the Judaeo-Christian tradition over a period of centuries." Using this analysis he suggests that "we disown and deny our own sexual and satanic impulses and attribute them to others" then licence ourselves to indulge such fantasies with ferocious condemnation of the supposed evil conspiracy.

In the case of Bryn Estyn was not the idea of evil which created the moral panic but the inability of human beings (individually and collectively) to identify or recognise objective reality. This failure was not motivated by the concept of evil but by personal pride, jealousy, untruths, lack of professional detatchment, vanity and willful myopia. The capacity of human beings to place themselves at the centre of a mythical world of their own creation is not necessarily tied up with the concept of evil. Yet such disagreement pales into insignificance against the damage done to society during this irrational affair.

We should never forget that facts remain sacred, opinion comes at a cost. In a free society people need to use their intellect to distinguish between one and the other. The real Secret of Bryn Estyn (ruthlessly exposed by Webster's brilliant and enduring work) was that on this occasion they did not. Everyone should read this book to make sure it never happens again. Unquestionably five stars for this investigative classic. Buy it, read it. Your trust of those in authority will never be the same again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too Many People Got too Much To Hide, 6 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Secret of Bryn Estyn: The Making of a Modern Witch Hunt (Hardcover)
I was steered away from reading this book, oddly enough by somebody who featured prominently throughout the 722 pages.

After only skimming through the first few pages, I understood why.

Richard Webster's nine-year research to bring this work to fruition, was indeed remarkable, as personal experience of some of the characters (names were changed to protect the living) he had to meet with and interview, were/are so crooked they would have had difficulty in laying in their beds straight.

He has my ultimate respect for that as some of those people truly were the lowest of the low. The stories they concocted in order to gain compensation, permanently destroyed the careers, health and reputation of some innocent people, which could even have contributed to the premature death in others.

It towers above anything else written about this dark chapter in The history of child care in this country, and serves to educate and awaken the reader to the depths that some people can sink.

I cannot recommend it highly enough....
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waterhouse Titanic hits iceberg, 20 Jan. 2006
By 
Roy Philip Everett (Kesgrave, Suffolk United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Secret of Bryn Estyn: The Making of a Modern Witch Hunt (Hardcover)
All truth passes through three stages:
First, it is ridiculed;
Second, it is violently opposed; and
Third, it is accepted as self-evident.
— Arthur Schopenhauer
But one person's axiom is another's heresy; and the intensity of the emotions is often inversely related to the availability of facts. Richard Webster's 722 pages is the iceberg upon which the Titanic of Waterhouse will founder, along with the hitherto perceived unsinkability of the SS Child Protection Value Statements. Your emotions can hardly fail to be triggered by this book; if you have been professionally involved in statutory child protection you will scream “heresy”, trash the book and demand that the author be burned at the stake; if you have been falsely accused of child abuse you will sob “at last” and demand that Webster be fêted as the ultimate whistleblower.
For, although the core of this book is the total demolition of the Waterhouse findings into the allegations of organised child abuse and paedophile rings in the child care homes of England, what gives it authority is the extraordinary lengths Webster has gone to place the whole Waterhouse episode into the context of the child protection industry, mass delusion and paedo-hysteria. You have only to read McLean and Elkind's exposé of the Enron corporate bankruptcy fiasco to see a striking comparison. Enron managed to persuade their auditors to re-write the rules of financial investigation so as to make massive debts appear to be massive assets; North Wales Social Services managed to persuade their police to re-write the rules of police investigation so as to make what, at worst, were rare isolated instances of child abuse, appear to be child abuse on a massive scale. Yet, in both the Enron boardroom and the Waterhouse hearing room, in both the Enron rank-and-file offices and the grim social services case meeting rooms, the actors in these dramas were behaving in what they thought were entirely reasonable, indeed praiseworthy, manner. Groupthink rules, OK?
Webster has of course the advantage over Waterhouse in that he could devote several years to poring over the evidence and ruthlessly testing it, going back to the original source material, without a hard newspaper or tribunal deadline, and working in a private and academic environment without a boss; Waterhouse had a few weeks to glance over thousands of pages, giving witnesses an audience rather than a cross-examination, assuming as accurate social workers' impressionistic reports, with the press and politicians baying for answers right now, and working in a highly public setting under instructions, whether covert or not, from his bosses. In the end, the conclusions we should now draw from Waterhouse are self-evident: some children from care homes will, as adults, accept cash in exchange for making up stories of abuse; but the Waterhouse inquiry managed to construct on these foundations a magnificent castle-in-the-air which Webster demolishes brick by brick. Additionally, Webster is able to present us with the history of comparable episodes in the past: mediaeval witchhunts and the Waugh & Stead media-led child abuse hysteria of the 1880s. These witchhunts are reported as being run by the educated and literate of that age and not by the middle-ages equivalent of Portsmouth anti-paedophile vigilante groups or the lynch mobs of the North of England.
Or is it history? Webster's historical account takes us to the feminist MacKinnon/Rush manifesto of 17th April 1971, which he presents as the spring from which much of the river of present day child protection culture flows. This culture — ‘children do not lie’, ‘all men are potential abusers’, ‘children who deny abuse are psychologically blocking and will disclose given time’ — is still active in the minds of NSPCC staff, paediatric psychologists, expert witnesses, and even some Divorce Court judges, despite the Butler-Sloss recommendations and her report on the Cleveland non-abuse scandal. Webster's book is the most significant objective narrative of how the child protection system has become corrupted by the very people who, though perhaps initially sincerely motivated out of care for children, have come to share in the same mass delusion, leading them to incarcerate the innocent and split up functioning families: it should be required reading for every senior manager in Social Services, teacher vetting panels and Custody Evaluation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent piece of research about a disturbing part of the story of residential child care in Britain, 2 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am writing this brief note since it would be allow you to think I am coming fresh from reading the book .I am not .It is some months now.But I am left with a very lasting impression.Richard Webster alas died since writing the book.Would that he were here to bring some balance to the many accounts of child abuse in the 80s and 90s in children's homes in North Wales .(There were many more instances and enquiries into abuse at the time nationwide.) What Webster does is demonstrate that even enquiries carried out by the most highly respected are not as watertight in their assessment of events and accounts of abuse and that there were very different accounts of events that weren't thoroughly aired or not given sufficient weight,resulting in some cases where individual reputations were damaged professionally ,sometimes without recourse to remedy.Fortunately,it has spurred at least two lawyers to devote their practices to helping those who may be facing wrongful accusations of child abuse.
That said,Webster does not fail to set the full picture before the reader ,so that you are able to read source accounts of much that took place and was recorded in the several governmental enquiries that were held to make recommendations.Even so one is still left reeling with a sense of disbelief
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Secret of Bryn Estyn: The Making of a Modern Witch Hunt, 7 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Essential reading for anyone dealing with child protection issues. An excellent book. Informative and thought provoking. Why haven't more journalists taken note of the dangers highlighted by this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars In October 2014, John Allen appeared at Mold Crown ..., 16 Dec. 2014
By 
R. I. Peel (LONDON) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Secret of Bryn Estyn: The Making of a Modern Witch Hunt (Hardcover)
In October 2014, John Allen appeared at Mold Crown Court accused of 40 counts of sexual abuse against 19 boys and one girl, aged between 7 and 15, during the 1960s and 1970s. At the time, Allen ran the Bryn Alyn Community which owned three children's residential homes near Wrexham. It was said that Allen employed child care staff at the homes, but involved himself in the work especially at night, and created a "sexualised atmosphere alongside a culture of fear" at the homes, in particular at Bryn Alyn, Pentre Saeson and Bryn Terion. Allen denied all the charges,but was found guilty on 33 of the charges.On 1st December 2014 he was sentenced to life imprisonment and told he would serve at least 11 years in prison.

I notice that all the positive reviews for this book are dated before the December 1st 2014 date so they are out of context with the reality of the child abuse case. The fact that the author has compared actual child abuse to witch hunts is highly objectionable. So called witches did nothing wrong. The peadophiles who ruined childrens lives in these care homes did do something very wrong. Comparing the two is vile. With this in mind this book should be ignored. It is 10 years out of date and innacurate in the context of where this case moved onto.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars read it and make up your own mind, 16 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Anything that challenges the accepted orthodoxy has to be worth reading and I have yet to see it robustly challenged.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Missing the obvious truth!, 30 Jan. 2010
This review is from: The Secret of Bryn Estyn: The Making of a Modern Witch Hunt (Hardcover)
As part of my research for my own proposed book entitled ' The Rise and Fall of Bryn Alyn Community', I am reading Richard Websters book entitled: ' The Secret of Bryn Estyn - The making of a modern witch hunt'. Published by the Orwell Press in 2005.

The book is has more than 70 chapters and I am only as far as chapter 20 at the time of writing.

I was one of the young people who survived the North Wales child abuse era - a victim of sexual abuse suffered at the hands of an 'official' who was subsequenmtly jailed for his crimes against children.

This book is a very interesting read with a lot of information, dates and `facts' about the history, cause, and conclusions drawn (by the author) of the North Wales child abuse era.

One thing that has become obvious to me as I am reading this book, is that the writer, who is obviously a well-educated man and a very skilful scribe, has analysed the `facts' in a single minded and pragmatic way.

Giving him the benefit of doubt, so far, I would say he is attempting to reveal the `truth' by way of careful analysis and dissemination of the available public and police records that he appears to have had unlimited access.

As I am reading through this book I find myself thinking that Richard Webster is missing the point on some detail - he appears to be making his observation of `fact' through a pre-set agenda and in a very narrow `matter of fact' way. He appears to have intellectualised every detail to support his own argument. He has left no margin or consideration for the `human side' of the detailed `facts'. I have wondered if his motive is entirely fuelled with a determination to undermine and discredit every ex-care leaver from the era, while at the same time propagating his own `witch-hunt' against others, or, is he simply an intellectual type who has become detached from the obvious `truth' that sits between the lines of his own observations.
He may be a genuine man with a genuine determination to expose the truth, but so far, based on what I have read, I feel he has missed the point and the obvious truth - that many young people of the era where abused by care staff and particularly at the hands of those who where in `high office'.

My book will primarily be about Bryn Alyn Community but will touch on much of the same history and `facts' - however, my book will cut to the chase, without all the intellectual dissecting and simply state the Fxxxking obvious - based on the first hand experiences of those who where actually present at the time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Secret of Bryn Estyn: The Making of a Modern Witch Hunt
The Secret of Bryn Estyn: The Making of a Modern Witch Hunt by Richard Webster (Hardcover - 19 Mar. 2005)
Used & New from: £8.00
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews