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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: Written from the perspectives of mental health professionals, lawyers, and law enforcement personnel, this book describes the psychological aspects of individuals who stalk, threaten, or attack public officials, while also focusing on risk management.
Purpose: According to the editors, the purpose is "to advance our understanding of stalking, violence risk, and threat management toward public figures, whether they be politicians, executives, judicial officers, or a wide array of celebrities."
Audience: The book is intended for forensic scientists and security specialists, but graduate students in forensic psychiatry/psychology would benefit from it as well. The editors are well qualified to author this book. Dr. Reid Meloy, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, is president of Forensis, a corporation dedicated to forensic research. Dr. Lorraine Sheridan is a chartered forensic psychologist who completed a doctoral degree in stalking, the first in Europe. Dr. Jens Hoffman is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Darmstadt in Germany. The contributors represent various professions such as psychiatry, psychology, law, and criminal justice, and various countries.
Features: The editors' introduction points out that research into threats and violence against public figures is only in its infancy, since 1991. The three main divisions of the book are devoted to defining risk, explaining risk, and managing risk. The section on defining risk includes the psychological characteristics of the perpetrators, along with the kinds of victims they choose. It also discusses the distinction between "hunters" (individuals who act on their intent) and "howlers" (those who threaten but do not act on it). Section II begins with a theoretical look at attachment theory and object relations theory to help explain stalking. The authors point out that television personalities may be at higher risk than other public figures. They also discuss psychopathy and the potential for violence. The section on managing risk covers the work of police departments and their threat management units, in addition to offender profiling. This instructive book uses many case examples and integrates theory, research, and practice in a coherent manner. The figures and tables serve the text well.
Assessment: This would be a wonderful acquisition for individuals working in forensic and/or correctional environments. The editors and contributors are the movers and shakers in the field, an international collection of social scientists, law enforcement, and legal experts.