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The Vatican's Exorcists: Driving Out the Devil in the 21st Century Hardcover – 5 Jul 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Printing edition (5 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446578851
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446578851
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 1.9 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 791,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

* How the Vatican's Office of Exorcism drives out demons and battles Satanic evil in today's world

About the Author

Tracy Wilkinson is the Rome bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times and she is the winner of the Polk Award for Foreign Reporting for her work in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s.


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I remember a long time ago borrowing a book from local library in Edinburgh about Exorcism. I like reading about different religious beliefs, studies etc and found this book on here. It is difficult to find a book thats not "hyped" up and this is a book thats written unbiased and talks about genuine priests who are exorcists. The book looks into how the Catholic church deals with exoricsms and how they deal with people who are actually mentally ill -not possessed. One of the best books I have read. However it can be quite heavy to read at times and have had to put it down twice . Fascinating and brilliant. In today's society where so many people are "lost" in the world where the seven sins are thriving this does make me ,personally, think that the Catholic church make more sense than most. I am of no religion so this is not a biased view either but the more I read ..the more I believe.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not as good as it could have been. I'd mark her report card 'Must try harder'. It reads like a slightly expanded magazine article; it could have been a lot more. There were three 'patients' and four exorcists covered, only a couple of which featured throughout. Not enough really. There were one or two sceptics quoted, a couple of scientific types, but all-in-all it was a bit of a disappointment. Given the subject matter, there's a lot more fantastic stories to pursue and cover. This reads like a journalist having nothing else to do on a Sunday afternoon but interview a couple of priests, a policeman, a psychologist, and three women.

The accounts of the exorcisms were quite dry, and almost boring in recital. The conversations with the priests were incomplete, where comments such as "You can't see what I've seen and not believe the Devil is an actual living person" were just left like that. No further elaboration or explanation. It leaves you feeling that there are much more interesting and elaborate tales out there, but that she just hasn't bothered to pursue them.

She made no real decision at the end, and given the paucity of evidence she appears to have garnered, you can't make any decision at all on any of the stories based purely on the information provided. So you're left with your own conclusions, which would be exactly the same ones that you started the book with.

It is an interesting subject, so not a complete waste of time, but it leaves you wanting far more in depth analysis, stories, and evidence for and against.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a really interesting book because it gives you both sides for consideration and much to think about. I enjoy reading these type of books.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9e2ec03c) out of 5 stars 19 reviews
61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d942900) out of 5 stars Trivialization and Generalization of a Potentially Exciting Topic 23 Jun. 2007
By Dcn. Brandon Bredice- Justice - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The first problem with the book is the title. Wilkinson spends more than one chapter discussing mass exorcisms and healing ceremonies by the excommunicated archbishop,Milingo. Secondly, because the author starts wih a wide examination of the topic in general, the reader is fed many general stories without the personal experience and firsthand account fond in other exorcism stories. The book doesn't amaze, astonish or scare which makes is somewhat mundane and a longer read than neccessary. The examples used stretch from private encounters, to part-time spiritual direcion to mass liturgical gatherings way beyond any Catholic Rite.

Unfortunately, it is clear Wilkinson has no personal beliefs or faith in the powers of evil that emminate from the text. Exorcisms are reduced mostly to hyterical, self induced phenomena by primarily over-emotional Catholics who are mostly Italian.

If you are looking for a dramatic Catholic account of firsthand experince, search for Malachi Martin's "Hostage to the Devil". If you like the academic, scientific approach from an agnostic-check out Dr. Scott Peck's book on evil. The Wilinkson book misses the mark fom both standpoints.
88 of 103 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d939cd8) out of 5 stars Catholic Bashing in Sheeps Clothing 1 Mar. 2007
By T. Roy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Catholics should beware. This is not the informative neutral book it claims to be. The pages are full of barely concealed contempt for Holy Mother Church and her "Arcane" and "mid-evil" rituals. It was a big disappointed. The one thing it has going for it is that is it is a short book that only takes a couple hours to read. Certainly not worth the money they are charging for it. The author is not even much of a wordsmith often repeating herself and attributing quotes to people after already assigning them to someone else. Altogether bad form.
34 of 42 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d9591d4) out of 5 stars Peculiar Book by an uninformed author 29 Mar. 2007
By Barry J. Gabriel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Though the author was present at several exorcisms in the Catholic Church (which I find very odd, as outsiders [non-participants] are not allowed to witness exorcisms in the Catholic church), I found her analysis of the situations rather uninformed about the ritual and the reasons such rituals are (thankfully rare) performed. Instead of getting to the crux of the matter, she interviewed and observed exorcisms done by what I would consider a lunatic fringe of priests and other prelates who seem to see demons everywhere. Calling the book Vatican Exorcists is very misleading. The priests involved do not follow the Vatican's directives regarding proper discernment of the need to exorcise, putting the church in an undeserved negative light. People reading this could believe that all priests do this and one could simply go to a rectory and merely ask to be exorcised, and it would be done. It doesn't work that way. The criteria for valid discernment is very clear and NONE of the priests involved in this book followed that. On a positive note, mental illness was discussed as a possible (IMO probable) reason the individuals discussed felt they needed exorcism. It is well written and easy to read, but the analysis of the subject in the last chapter is weak and flawed. I suspect the author is either a non or ex-Catholic as I felt a bit of contempt being held for the church as a whole in its maintaining this ritual as part of its ancient rites.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d950eac) out of 5 stars Trash from Hell! Go read "The Rite: the making of a modern exorcist" by Matt Baglio 1 April 2009
By Sexy Bachelor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"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.

Recommended reading:

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
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d959540) out of 5 stars Deceptive 1 July 2009
By F. Harry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This author is very deceptive. She has some facts and lots of hearsay and opinion. She has much to learn on this subject. I pray for her...she has much responsibility for her work. Where are the days when people could read the pro and con based on facts???
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