The Devil You Know: Stories of Human Cruelty and Compassion

Gwen Adshead, Eileen Horne

"What drives someone to commit an act of terrible violence? Drawing from her thirty years' experience in working with people 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. In eleven vivid narratives based on decades of providing therapy to people in prisons and secure hospitals, an internationally renowned forensic psychiatrist and psychotherapist demonstrates the remarkable human capacity for radical empathy, change, and redemption."--Provided by publisher.

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Book Information

Publisher: Scribner Book Company
Publish Date: 07/20/2021
Pages: 320
ISBN-13: 9781982134792
ISBN-10: 1982134798
Language: English

What We're Saying

July 16, 2021

Dr. Gwen Adshead offers an honest and profound look at what it takes to unpack violence in individual situations rather than from statistics, and how the work she puts into it teaches her about her own mind and emotions too.  READ FULL DESCRIPTION

July 20, 2021

Books to Watch | July 20, 2021

By Dylan Schleicher, Gabbi Cisneros, Emily Porter

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Full Description

In eleven vivid narratives based on decades of providing therapy to people in prisons and secure hospitals, 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' experience in working with people 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 first-hand 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.

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