Child Sexual Abuse and False Memory Syndrome
||Robert A. Baker
||Prometheus Books, ©1998
59 John Glenn Drive
Amhurst, NY 14228-2197
In this 479-page book, Robert Baker has pulled together 22 articles from
all sides of the debate over recovered memories and false memories. Contributors
include Maggie Bruck, Stephen Ceci, Christine Courtois, David Finkelhor,
James Hudson, Elizabeth Loftus, Richard Ofshe, Harrison Pope, Hollida Wakefield,
Ralph Underwager, Michael Yapko, and several others. These articles, which
first appeared elsewhere, are representative of the controversy over recovered
memories of alleged sexual abuse. Many of the most influential and important
articles over the last few years are collected in this book.
The book is divided into six sections. The five articles in part one are
devoted to the nature of human memory and what we know and don't know about
it. The four articles in part two are devoted to repression and amnesia
and include the paper by David Holmes on the lack of experimental evidence
for repression. Part three addresses hypnosis, suggestion, and iatrogenesis,
and its four articles present widely differing perspectives. The five articles
in part four examine the professional response to child sexual abuse and
document professional practices that may harm children. Part five discusses
the research on the impact of child sexual abuse and the legal implications
of abuse allegations, both in cases involving child witnesses and in cases
involving adults with claims of repressed memories.
In the last chapter, the editor presents a summary and recommendations.
The book ends with a list of recommended readings and a brief index.
This book meets its goal of exploring the major issues involved in memories
of alleged child sexual abuse. As in all collections of previously published
articles, there is some overlapping. However, the chapters flow together
well and avoid most redundancy. This important book belongs on the shelf
of all professionals who deal with allegations of sexual abuse.
Reviewed by LeRoy G. Schultz, Emeritus Professor, West Virginia University.