By Brigitte Axelrad. Translated from the French by Robert Shaw. (First edition 2010: Les ravages des faux souvenirs ou la mémoire manipulée Nice: Book-ebook ISBN_13 978 2 915312 22 5 €9.90 from www.book-e-book.com) Publisher: BFMS. Date: 2011.
The ravages of false memories is the best book on false memory therapies bar none; the author combines a broad understanding of the issues, the ability to communicate them and personal experience to create a book which through questions and answers will satisfy the lay reader and through the breadth of her knowledge may well point fellow experts in new directions. In nine chapters she covers what they are, how they operate, where they came from, how people exploit them, how any memory can be distorted, their impact on families and multiple personality disorder. An interview with Elizabeth Loftus concludes the book. She unpicks the conflicts in Freudian therapy, the denial of women’s suffering, the history of our understanding of false memories, the ways in which people have manipulated memories and the consequences for all the victims of manipulated memory. Very occasionally her enthusiasm for the subject appears to lead her to overstate her case slightly but this may be because in these cases she is relying on translations and summaries of research. Most of her citations and knowledge are from well-referenced original sources going back over a century. It should be on the reading list of every counsellor, every psychologist and every psychiatrist as well as the Archbishop of Canterbury and families and friends of those who have been caught up in recovered memory therapies.
Review by a BFMS member.
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