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Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Famous Multiple Personality Case

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

12 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

extraordinary tale, solidly researched

Ms. Nathan's book is about to raise much dust, as can be seen by a couple of nit-picking reviews here, apparently done by the same person. She has written a great story that ranges over the whole country before climaxing in Manhattan, and winding down to a Kentucky sub...
Ms. Nathan's book is about to raise much dust, as can be seen by a couple of nit-picking reviews here, apparently done by the same person. She has written a great story that ranges over the whole country before climaxing in Manhattan, and winding down to a Kentucky suburb. She has much to say about the evolution of psychology, of how women were swept into the workforce in the 1970s and confronted with a fracturing series of new possibilities piled on to old obligations -- and of a masterfully composed enterprise of deceit that was successful beyond the wildest hopes of its creators. The book is brilliant. It's going to be huge, and it deserves every accolade it will receive.

posted by 9851541 on October 10, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

23 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

Grave concern for accuracy by her closest living relative!

Review of 'Sybil Exposed' This review is from: Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Famous Multiple Personality Case (Hardcover) As Shirley Mason's closest living relative, I was close to her for the 30 plus years through the saga of her life journey. In fa...
Review of 'Sybil Exposed' This review is from: Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Famous Multiple Personality Case (Hardcover) As Shirley Mason's closest living relative, I was close to her for the 30 plus years through the saga of her life journey. In fact, I was with her several days the week of her death, at her request, and was one of the only people that was in constant contact with her all those years. I kept her identity confidential at her fervent request. Through all these years up until literally the day before she died, she verified the complete accuracy of the book, 'Sybil'. Debbie Nathan says that she called me for an interview in 2008, that I denied her. I do not recall that call, though I received many calls over the years since her death, and have denied them all, not knowing or trusting the intent of the call. Therefore, Debbie Nathan did not have information, from the person who was one of the closest to Shirley for those years. There are many untruths in this book. Knowing Dr. Connie Wilbur, and Flora Shrieber also, the book concerns me greatly. It is an attack on their credibility, their research, and their professionalism. And, the book is a complete attack on the person I loved, Shirley Mason. The years after Shirley's therapy she was a very happy woman. She would often tell me, "Naomi, I am at peace. I have my art, my music, my books and my deep faith in God." Shirley taught painting in those years, and painted avidly, selling many of her paintings. She was not a 'recluse' as some claim. She was a very private person, protecting her identity, wanting this anonymity for herself and for our family. I kept her confidence all those years.and now am very personally saddened to see her life and hard work through therapy disputed. She was a brilliant woman, who was terribly abused as a child, and had her own way of escaping that abuse. Dr. Wilbur was a pioneer in this therapy and an angel in Shirley's life. Naomi Rhode, cousin of Shirley Mason

posted by NaomiRhode on October 31, 2011

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  • Posted October 31, 2011

    Grave concern for accuracy by her closest living relative!

    Review of 'Sybil Exposed' This review is from: Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Famous Multiple Personality Case (Hardcover) As Shirley Mason's closest living relative, I was close to her for the 30 plus years through the saga of her life journey. In fact, I was with her several days the week of her death, at her request, and was one of the only people that was in constant contact with her all those years. I kept her identity confidential at her fervent request. Through all these years up until literally the day before she died, she verified the complete accuracy of the book, 'Sybil'. Debbie Nathan says that she called me for an interview in 2008, that I denied her. I do not recall that call, though I received many calls over the years since her death, and have denied them all, not knowing or trusting the intent of the call. Therefore, Debbie Nathan did not have information, from the person who was one of the closest to Shirley for those years. There are many untruths in this book. Knowing Dr. Connie Wilbur, and Flora Shrieber also, the book concerns me greatly. It is an attack on their credibility, their research, and their professionalism. And, the book is a complete attack on the person I loved, Shirley Mason. The years after Shirley's therapy she was a very happy woman. She would often tell me, "Naomi, I am at peace. I have my art, my music, my books and my deep faith in God." Shirley taught painting in those years, and painted avidly, selling many of her paintings. She was not a 'recluse' as some claim. She was a very private person, protecting her identity, wanting this anonymity for herself and for our family. I kept her confidence all those years.and now am very personally saddened to see her life and hard work through therapy disputed. She was a brilliant woman, who was terribly abused as a child, and had her own way of escaping that abuse. Dr. Wilbur was a pioneer in this therapy and an angel in Shirley's life. Naomi Rhode, cousin of Shirley Mason

    23 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 19, 2011

    don't recommend

    One scene stood out in my mind. On page 361, she approaches ISST-D president/psychotherapist Kathy Steele to tell her of the 'extensive evidence' of 'Connie's' ignorance, and ethical misconduct that she had discovered during her research.Kathy Steele responds, "I don't know what difference it makes." She urges Nathan to look at recent studies that scientifically demonstrate DID and the relationship to child abuse. Nathan stubbornly insists that she 'looked' at the studies, and 'they turn out to suffer from the same limitations as the older work.' What? Can you imagine this little investigative reporter pulling at Kathie's sleeve telling her such a thing?

    The book begins with Nathan comparing herself to Flora Schreiber - a woman in a man's field, looking for that 'big' story. The introduction held my interest briefly. A few 'sexy stories' of abuse. I could sense her jealousy of Flora Schreiber - 'hear' the excitement in her voice as she retold the 'sexy stories'.

    Chapters one through 19 are BORING - She rambles through a kind of re-telling of the story of 'Sybil' - recreating characters: "Connie", "Shirley", and "Flora" -stripping them of their full names titles - discrediting them - a story of three women who decided to make a bunch of money by drugging this poor girl, hypnotizing her, helping her create many personalities, and then, writing Sybil - perfectly timing its release so the dumb women of America who were just 'finding' their way out of the kitchen and into the workplace would be enticed by the sexual stories and new found attention of therapists - all buying billions of copies. In chapter 19, she kills off Schreiber.

    Then, suddenly-chapter 20 - "Contagion". Okay, now I am awake. A new book? She moves from topic to topic with no sense of why,out of nowhere- Guess what? Sybil never even had multiple personalities, but pernicious anemia. Nathan surmises how embarrassed Dr. Wilbur would be had she known that. As if Nathan is again the 'expert'.

    On to chapter 21-hoping for some kind of clarity. Nope - a discussion of cult investigations? Suddenly, the FMSF is introduced. I assume to contain the problem (as Nathan describes) of people reporting child abuse - especially ritual type abuse - the liars, encouraged by incompetent therapists and trauma hospitals - who should be sued and/or removed from practice. The survivor becomes the perpetrator and the abuser the victim - today - and in her 're-telling' of Sybil.

    The reader - if still thinking clearly, wonders if Nathan realizes that child abuse is 'real'.

    Survivors struggle with many symptoms including multiple personalities. Can she give them a bit of dignity? Have they not been hurt enough? They are the victims, not the perpetrators.

    Does Nathan dare to step out and say there are NO child abuse survivors? What exactly is she saying?

    In the last chapter, Sybil dies - a symbolic chapter - kill Sybil - kill the research, the funding, the education, the chance for people who need good mental health care to ever be taken seriously again - if Nathan had her way.

    I would say that according to Nathan's statement on page 364, it is her and others' with her point of view - those unprepared to welcome the changes in the area of trauma and dissociation and test them who are not to be trusted.

    8 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    Additional Inaccuracies Found

    In the Introduction Nathan states: "A professor in comparative literature on the West Coast had teamed up with an assistant and visited John Jay almost a decade before I laid eyes on the material. Afterward he had written several pages about the archives in a book criticizing psychoanalysis. But he'd written in French, and the book was published in Paris. Practically nobody in America read it." The truth is Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen's book "Making Minds and Madness" was published in English by Cambridge University Press in 2009. Nathan also fails to report that Schreiber's archives were used in another book "The Bifurcation of the Self" published in 2006 by Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. Both books are for sale on the Barnes & Noble website.


    ----- ***Dear Anonymous, Do you think this is "nit picking?" In the Introduction after the quotes in paragraph 14, Nathan states: "...As Sybil lies on Dr. Wilbur's couch, hypnotized, the babies, little boys, and teenagers all grow into adults within minutes, and they dutifully fold back into Sybil's consciousness, promising never to "come out" again." Besides displaying her ignorance about "integration" Nathan makes an untrue statement. In SYBIL Flora Schreiber writes on page 306: " Peggy Lou had obviously joined sleeping Sybil, Vicky and Ruthie, not through the assistance of hypnosis, but spontaneously...Meantime, between July, 1960, and early January, 1962, analysis proceeded, traumas were resolved, and the massive residue from the past began to chip away. The two and a half years, however, were a period of watchful waiting for the major breakthrough that would make Sybil one person." Then the other personalities were integrated, but hardly "within minutes."

    8 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 9, 2011

    BS & BIASED... Grasping at Straws.

    Book is written biased and persuasive. It is basically saying that the whole Sybil case was fake, the psychologist (even though she put in 11 years before Sybil was even beginning to be healed) was only trying to exploit Sybil, and the whole thing was a plot between the Doctor and the Author of the book "Sybil" to get rich together.

    The author of this book then goes on to explain and attempt to debunk Multiple Personality Disorder in itself, and thus is the core of the entire book, to convince you that MPD is not real.

    8 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2011

    Totally untrue

    To bad this author decided to pick a subject that has been proven over and over. She could only write this book AFTER Dr. Wilbur has passed away. Why? because Debbie Nathan has taken things out of context and tried to cash in on people who will believe whatever they read. I would not suggest reading this book.

    7 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 16, 2011

    To Jeanette (previous post)

    Dear Jeanette Bartha, it is understandable how you feel about Nathan's book. In light of your own unfortunate experiences I do hope people will take your advice and go to the Special Collections Library at John Jay College to see Flora Schreiber's archives. Researchers have seen these documents as far back as 1998 and there is no evidence to support Nathan's outrageous and attention grabbing claims.

    7 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2011

    biased and inaccurate book

    I read this book and found it to be very biased, attacking the Sybil story and the reality of MPD. It left out important details of the story and MPD that did not back the book's agenda. Several factual inaccuracies have already been found in the book. Important people that knew Sybil were not interviewed for the book. The book has several conclusions that do not fit the facts, especially the one that states Sybil admitted the story was "fake." Like many people, she briefly denied she had MPD, like other people deny other diagnoses or addictions. Sybil told others later in life that everything in the book was true. A large portion of the book is the author's opinion about Sybil and MPD and does not fit all of the evidence about either. It is an opinion piece, molded to an agenda to discredit the Sybil story and MPD.

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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