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One of Britain’s leading forensic psychiatrists shares the eye-opening insights that she has gained providing therapy to countless violent criminals and calls for greater compassion and shared humanity in the face of complex and emotive psychological issues.
Shortlisted for the CWA ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction 2022
A BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week
A perspective-shattering work into the minds of violent criminals that reveals profound consequences for human nature and society at large.
Serial homicide. Stalking. Arson. Gang crime. Who are the people behind these acts of terrible violence? What are their stories? And what is it like to sit opposite them?
Dr Gwen Adshead is one of Britain's leading forensic psychiatrists, and she has spent thirty years providing therapy inside secure hospitals and prisons. Whatever her patient's crime she aims to help them to better know their minds by helping them to articulate their life experience.
Through a collaboration with co-author Eileen Horne, Adshead brings her work to life in these fascinating, unflinching portraits of individuals who newspaper headlines, TV dramas and crime fiction label 'monsters'.
Case by case, Adshead takes us into the treatment room and reveals these men and women in all their complexity and vulnerability. She sheds new light on the unpredictable nature of the therapeutic process as doctor and patient try to find words for the unspeakable. These are stories of cruelty and despair but also of change and recovery.
In a time of increasing polarisation, in the face of overcrowded prisons and devastating cuts to mental health care, Adshead speaks to our shared humanity and makes the case for compassion over condemnation, empathy over fear. The Devil You Know challenges what we think we know about evil. It is a rare book that has the power to change minds.
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 581 g
Dimensions: 234 x 153 x 26 mm
'Exceptional.' - Val McDermid
'Gripping ... and ultimately enlightening.' - Philippe Sands
'Extraordinary.' - Sebastain Faulks
'Fascinating, erudite and beautifully written.' - Christie Watson
'Urgent and invaluable.' - David Lammy
'Meticiulous, elegant, provoking.' - Marina Cantacuzino
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“An intriguing, thought-provoking read.”
The thing that struck me most about Dr Adshead's account is how incredibly difficult her job must be, on so many levels. A psychiatrist and psychotherapist with some 30 years experience, her role is very much a... More
“A brilliant and compassionate book”
What drives human beings to commit horrific crimes such as decapitating a stranger, murdering a parent or abusing a child? Shouldn’t we just lock up these evil monsters and throw away the key? Surely we shouldn’t... More
“Thoughtful, thought provoking and challenging at times”
Dr Gwen Adshead is a forensic psychiatrist and psychotherapist. In 30 years of experience seeing troubled people she has dealt with a wide variety of issues. Some of her time has been spent with patients at... More
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