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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Karen M. Donahey, PhD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This book examines the recovering memory controversy in comprehensive detail by exploring the social, cultural, and individual factors that lie behind the accusations. The author, an accused parent himself, argues that the lack of science underlying recovering memory therapy has produced the current scourge of pseudomemories and confabulations.
Purpose: The purpose of the book is to provide readers with the available scientific information on how memory works and doesn't work and how illusory memories can be created.
Audience: The book is intended for both scholars and the general public. The author is an investigative journalist who also has the personal experience of being accused falsely by his two adult daughters of sexual abuse.
Features: The book includes numerous references for further review. The author's interviews with dozens of people from all sides of this issue are included in this book.
Assessment: This book attempts to address the phenomenon of recovered memory in a thorough and comprehensive way, compelling the reader to consider very carefully the scientific evidence currently available about how human memory works, and, perhaps more importantly, how it doesn't work. It also very persuasively illustrates the various social, cultural, and individual factors identified by the author to have contributed to the immense power and belief in this phenomenon. The author does not deny the reality of child sexual abuse, but implores the reader to recognize that there is clear evidence available that memories of sexual abuse can, and are, being created and encouraged by misguided therapists convinced they are performing a real service. The author's hope is that both professionals and the public will seriously question and actively challenge the current concept of recovered memory so that future victims (individuals and their families) can be spared from this very real tragedy.