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The Devil You Know

The Devil You Know

2021 . Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Social Science, Criminology, True Crime . Gwen Adshead, Eileen Horne

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The Devil You Know
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About the book


In this “unmissable book” (The Guardian), an internationally renowned forensic psychiatrist and psychotherapist demonstrates the remarkable human capacity for radical empathy, change, and redemption. What drives someone to commit an act of terrible violence? Drawing from her thirty years of experience in providing therapy to people in prisons and secure hospitals who have committed serious offenses, Dr. Gwen Adshead provides fresh and surprising insights into violence and the mind. Through a collaboration with coauthor Eileen Horne, Dr. Adshead brings her extraordinary career to life in a series of unflinching portraits. Alongside doctor and patient, we discover what human cruelty, ranging from serial homicide to stalking, arson or sexual offending, means to perpetrators, experiencing firsthand how minds can change when the people some might label as “evil” are able to take responsibility for their life stories and get to know their own minds. With outcomes ranging from hope to despair, from denial to recovery, these men and women are revealed in all their complexity and shared humanity. In this era of mass incarceration, deep cuts in mental health care and extreme social schisms, this book offers a persuasive argument for compassion over condemnation. Moving, thought-provoking, and brilliantly told, The Devil You Know is a rare and timely book with the power to transform our ideas about cruelty and violence, and to radically expand the limits of empathy. “A welcome contribution to the literature of crime and rehabilitation” (Kirkus Reviews).






Simon and Schuster




1982134798 (ISBN13: 9781982134792)

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Chris Cairns

7 months ago


This was a really tough read. It was thought provoking and confronting. It was a book that makes you think, a lot. When she was describing the crimes you got to see a different angle. You could see that mental health played a huge part in the offenders and maybe if things had been different for them their life could have taken a different turn. Now don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not condoning the actions and behaviour but I think its possible to have compassion for these men and women without doing that. Compassion is such an important thing we have to offer and it was made possible in this book because we were guided by the authors view and experiences. The offenders became more than just their crime. Personally I really couldn’t manage to have compassion for David and it wasn’t because of his crime, it was because of the way he dealt with it and treated people. I don’t claim to be perfect though and its let me look at myself more closely.

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