IPT Book Reviews

Title: Child Sexual Abuse and False Memory Syndrome  Positive Review Positive Review
Editor: Robert A. Baker
Publisher: Prometheus Books, 1998

Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive
Amhurst, NY 14228-2197
(716) 691-0133
$34.95 (c)

In this 479-page book, Robert Baker has pulled together 22 articles from all sides of the debate over recovered memories and false memories. Contributors include Maggie Bruck, Stephen Ceci, Christine Courtois, David Finkelhor, James Hudson, Elizabeth Loftus, Richard Ofshe, Harrison Pope, Hollida Wakefield, Ralph Underwager, Michael Yapko, and several others. These articles, which first appeared elsewhere, are representative of the controversy over recovered memories of alleged sexual abuse. Many of the most influential and important articles over the last few years are collected in this book.

The book is divided into six sections. The five articles in part one are devoted to the nature of human memory and what we know and don't know about it. The four articles in part two are devoted to repression and amnesia and include the paper by David Holmes on the lack of experimental evidence for repression. Part three addresses hypnosis, suggestion, and iatrogenesis, and its four articles present widely differing perspectives. The five articles in part four examine the professional response to child sexual abuse and document professional practices that may harm children. Part five discusses the research on the impact of child sexual abuse and the legal implications of abuse allegations, both in cases involving child witnesses and in cases involving adults with claims of repressed memories.

In the last chapter, the editor presents a summary and recommendations. The book ends with a list of recommended readings and a brief index.

This book meets its goal of exploring the major issues involved in memories of alleged child sexual abuse. As in all collections of previously published articles, there is some overlapping. However, the chapters flow together well and avoid most redundancy. This important book belongs on the shelf of all professionals who deal with allegations of sexual abuse.

Reviewed by LeRoy G. Schultz, Emeritus Professor, West Virginia University.

Order this book: Hardcover

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