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Satan's Silence: Ritual Abuse and the Making of a Modern American Witch Hunt Kindle Edition
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
When it deals with the trials this book is excellent. Where it falls down is its' attempts to deal with the psychological aspects of it all, it should have simply stuck to the reality of the investigations and the trials. Perhaps one of the most shocking things is the attitude to incest as late as the 70s where it was seen as a mental health issue where abusers were offered therapy rather than being prosecuted and psychologists seemed to blame neglectful wives for their abandoned husbands seducing their daughters as a substitute partner. Thankfully things have changed. The book is also a little out of date with thankfully virtually everyone it mentions in the Kern County cases etc having been released.
This book really exceeded my expectations. The authors have a deep understanding and knowledge of the people and institutions which fostered the panic. You get plenty of details on some of the more notorious cases, including the McMartin case, but after reading the book, you'll also have a good sense of how incompetence, stupidity, irrationality, and good intentions converged to produce such a shameful episode.
This is also a deeply frightening book. Not because there was any reality to the many charges of ritual abuse, but because there wasn't. Perfectly ordinary people going about their lives were suddenly plunged into hellish ordeals based on the charges of people who were misinformed, delusional, and in some cases mentally ill. And the criminal justice system not only failed to respond appropriately, but responded by becoming efficient and effective at turning false charges into convictions. You will emerge from reading this book with your faith in human rationality deeply shaken - as it should be. Rationality is a very thin veneer.
Absolutely top-flight book. Well written, well organized, and extensively documented.