From Library Journal
A whistle-blowing insider, Hagen (psychology, Boston Univ.) rails against forensic psychology and psychiatric practitioners. In her view, the booming business of expert testimony in child custody, criminal rehabilitation, child abuse, and psychological injury/disability cases wastes society's financial resources and yields decisions probably inferior to those that could have been made by the general public. As an "infant" science, she argues, psychology can't provide the answers to the questions posed in such situations. Unfortunately, provocative ideas rest under mounds of verbiage and inflammatory rhetoric here. Legitimate outcome studies that bolster Hagen's conclusions are interspersed with sensational newspaper snippets of particular incidents; oversimplifications and gross generalizations weaken her message. Essentially a political diatribe, this work may be equally useful for consciousness-raising or as fodder for cost-cutting insurance companies, but it is not a necessary purchase for general collections.?Antoinette Brinkman, Southwest Indiana Mental Health Ctr. Lib., Evansville
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A take-no-prisoners condemnation of psychiatric experts being waved into the witness box, this account trashes psychiatry in general as a quack profession. Hagen (a psychology professor) assails most of the diagnostic tools of the field in her text, which roams among court cases whose outcome hinged on the testimony of mental-health experts. Her fundamental contention is that psychiatry is a junk science whose theories when extended to matters of legal culpability go against common sense. Indeed, Hagen assumes the posture of that legendary legalism, the "reasonable person," and her prose is peppered with exclamations and rhetorical questions like "Who could believe that?" which might annoy as many readers as it might convince about whatever points are in question. Among them are such topically current items as battered-wife syndrome, recovered memory claims, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and urban psychosis claims. The average person could easily encounter in divorce and child custody litigation the situations Hagen vigorously complains of, so her energetic attack could gain considerable attention. Gilbert Taylor