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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description: This comprehensive book compiled by numerous well known authors is a strong introduction to the complex concepts involved in the practice forensic psychiatry. It succeeds where other books have failed as it separates the wheat from the chaff, breaking down complicated ideas into digestible pieces.
Purpose: As this book suggests, most forensic examinations are completed by general psychiatrists without subspecialty training in the field. This book is meant to provide education about the legal system and the role of the psychiatric clinician, both general and forensic, in this specific arena. The book exceeds lofty expectations.
Audience: Primarily geared toward general psychiatry clinicians, this book explains basic concepts vital for understanding the complexities of the field. It also provides a succinct review of significant topics for forensic practitioners. Importantly, it should also be immensely valuable to those training in general psychiatry.
Features: While Part I of the book, "Introduction to Forensic Psychiatry," is well written, it is somewhat superfluous. The meat of the subspecialty is contained in the remaining portions covering civil litigation, criminal justice, and special topics. Particularly relevant, usually overlooked, and practical subjects include the practice of psychiatry in correctional settings, forensic psychiatry relating to law enforcement, and the use of actuarial scales in risk assessment.
Assessment: This book is wonderfully written in clear and concise language, managing to break down complicated topics into lucid, useful subject matter. And while it is not as comprehensive as Principles and Practice of Forensic Psychiatry, 2nd edition, by Rosner (Arnold, 2003), it is much better suited for the less experienced or casual learner. In addition, it is a book that will undoubtedly be useful in the education of general psychiatry residents on a wide variety of forensic topics.