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Conversations With A Pedophile: In the Interest of our Children Hardcover – January 1, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

Review

...only by understanding pedophilia can we protect children. The veracity of these revelations have the ring of truth. -- Kirkus Reviews: March 15, 2003

About the Author

Amy Hammel-Zabin is currently a practicing music therapist and a graduate advisor for music therapy students at New York University. Her flute playing is featured on a CD that is currently ranked #5 in Europe. She lives in Greenwich, CT with her husband and two young children.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 237 pages
  • Publisher: Barricade Books (January 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569802475
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569802472
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #607,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
5 star
69%
4 star
0%
3 star
19%
2 star
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1 star
13%
See all 16 customer reviews
This book is as profoundly disturbing as its subject!
A. Student
What saves this from being frightening and sadistic voyereuism is that the author adds the vulnerable, human voice of the (recovered) victim to the story.
Susan Berenzweig
I recommend this book to anyone who works with children.
Annie M.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Annie M. on June 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a powerful and important book, even if disturbing at times. It tells the story of one Pedophine, and a contrite one at that, yet still offers some insight into the workings of the minds of at least some people who are considered the lowest of the low even among the incarcerated. It was interesting to read Alan's (the pedophile whose long-term correspondance with Dr. Zabin is at the foundation of this book) explanation of his evolving perversion. At times his rationalizations seem almost a little too clear, as if he'd spent time filling in the gaps to make the process meaningful. Even to casting blame on others for not giving him what he needed and "driving him" to seek control elsewhere. However, I think that Alan's story and his escalating tactics of grooming and ensnaring victims does glimpse into a process many of us would rather not have to look at: pedophiles don't drop out of the sky as dirty old men...pedophilia evolves...pedophiles hurt many children before they are caught.
While to some degree this makes it all the more scary, it can hopefully in the future allow society places of awareness and intervention that might stop a tendency, confusion, or re-enactment before it becomes a full blown addiction to power that feeds on vunlerability and submission.
The title of the book, "Conversations with A pedophile", is well thought--Alan's story, a pedophile who accepts his responsibility (at least at part) and expresses some rue for his violations can't be easily generalized. We are yet to learn more about the workings of the minds of violent offenders; those who do not take the time to "groom" their victims and their families; those who establish their dominance on their own young who already have no way other than to submit.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A. Student on September 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Be warned! This book is as profoundly disturbing as its subject! That being said, it provides critical information that parents and caregivers need to know to keep their children and charges from becoming another statistic. The pederast who provides the "real life" information for this book was able to rape (repeatedly) over 1,000 prepubescent boys and was only discovered because a mother found a picture of her son in a sexually explicit pose -- none of the victims ever reported their rape. Dr. Hammel-Zabin does a great service in discovering and describing, using the pederast's own words, how this could have happened, the tactics used to control the victims, and, most importantly, what needs to be done IN THE HOME and community to counter these tactics. Reading this book will disgust you and likely cost you some sleep but you will gain a deep insight into how such things happen and, more importantly, be prepared to help keep it from happening again.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jeri Massi on April 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is a must-read for parents. In fact, it's a must-read for anybody who coordinates soccer, boy scouts, girl scouts, church youth trips, etc.

I felt the entire spectrum of emotions as I read this book, especially anger, at first, as I realized that Dr Zabin was going to give a pedophile credibility. But her own contributions to the text calmed me down. She, and even Alan himself (the pedophile who tells his tale), are very clear that what he did was damaging and wrong. Alan never excuses himself. Indeed, in many ways he was quite articulate about showing how horrible his actions have been. And Dr Zabin is clear about articulating the suffering of those who have been molested.

The value of this book is that Alan does show you, the reader, how he got away with what he did for so long: crimes of pedophilia that continued for decades. And he does show the reader how subtle, manipulative, and persistent pedophiles are. I don't think normal people even think like Alan thinks, and so his guide to how he operated for so long without ever being detected is a real eye-opener. You will definitely benefit from this book if you have children in your care, because Alan clearly shows you how minutely a skilled pedophile will learn your thinking and behaviors in order to get at a child.

On the down side, it's clear to me that Alan editorializes a bit, and even though his account of how he got children seems clear and true, I have no doubt that he is telling his story, his way, to suit himself. In the end, even though Alan never excuses himself, he also never reveals remorse or repentance. I think he is a pedophile who has gotten as close to normal as he can pretend to be. Intellectually he knows that what he did was wrong, and he assents to that verdict. But in terms of compassion and empathy---those are still reserved in his mind for himself, exclusively, and not his victims.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By yikes54 on May 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Engrossing from the first to the last page. Hammel-Zabin opens her darkest secrets to the reader and through a most amazing relationship she forged with a "brilliant" pedophile we are horrified, amazed, awakened and enlightened at the same time!! Anyone who has ANYTHING to do with children should read this book!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Thanks for reading on August 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book includes first-hand accounts expressed by an intelligent, aware, well-written man who is a pedophile. He clearly describes his level of pathology, including obsessiveness, distrust of others, extreme isolation, sadism, and a drive to sexually, mentally and emotionally control and harm young boys.

I am a psychotherapist and have been working with sexual abuse survivors for over twenty years. This book gives insight into the mind of a pedophile in ways that no other document I've ever read (none of which have ever been from the perspective of an actual perpetrator) has.

One might worry that the providing step-by-step descriptions of how this man successfully molested hundreds of young boys without any child ever having disclosed the abuse could serve as a "how to" for aspiring pedophiles.

Such concern shouldn't be reason for condemning this book.

First of all, the perpetrator's means of manipulating these children into silence is not particularly creative or intelligent. Instead it's obsessive and meticulous. Over years of clinical work, I've found his means to be typical of an individual who sexually abuses children.

Secondly, if more adults better understood perpetrators' means of acquiring children to victimize, this form of abuse could be more successfully stopped.

Bravo to Amy Hammel-Zabin.
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