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Mark Pendergrast, author
Victims of Memory/i>
Author Biography: Mark PendergrastMark Pendergrast is the author of several books, including Mirror Mirror, Victims of Memory, For God, Country & Coca-Cola, and Uncommon Grounds. His work has appeared in the New York Times, London Sunday Times, Wall Street Journal, Skeptical Inquirer, Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, Ethics & Behavior, River Teeth, Holocaust Studies, and elsewhere.
Pendergrast reviews books regularly for the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been interviewed on hundreds of radio and television shows and has given speeches throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere. Pendergrast is a Harvard graduate with an advanced degree in library science from Simmons College. He lives in Vermont.
His book Victims of Memory is the classic book in its field, the most comprehensive, scholarly work on a disastrous, misguided form of psychotherapy that harmed clients and destroyed families in the name of healing. Under the influence of this therapy and self-help books on the topic, millions of people came to believe that they had been the victims of prolonged childhood sexual abuse, when they had not. This is the book that explains exactly how people can rewrite their entire past and come to believe that the very people that loved and nurtured them were fiendish perverts who abused them. And how it could easily happen again . . . .
Availability for Public Speaking EngagementsMark Pendergrast speaks at universities, business conferences, management seminars, and psychological meetings. His presentations are tailored to the audience, but are always entertaining, thought-provoking, and challenging. For more information on arranging a speaking event, (in an MS Word document) Click Here.
Excerpts from Reviews of Victims
by Mark Pendergrast
- An impressive display of scholarship...a comprehensive treatment
of the recovered-memories controversy.... Pendergrast offers a broader
portrayal of the social and cultural contexts of the recovered-memories
phenomenon [than other books on the subject]. His treatment is also
distinguished by some welcome historical perspective.... Pendergrast
demonstrates a laudable ability to lay out all sides of the argument....
[He] renders a sympathetic portrayal of recovery therapists as well-intentioned
but misinformed players in a drama that has veered out of control.
Daniel L. Schacter, Scientific American,
- Victims of Memory constitutes the most ambitious and
comprehensive, as well as the most emotionally committed, of all
the studies before us. Pendergrast's book stands out from the
others in several respects. For one thing, it transcribes his
numerous interviews...allowing the cruel unreason of the recovery
movement to be voiced with a minimum of editorial mediation. Second,
he is the author who delves most deeply into the movement's antecedents
in witchcraft lore, mesmerism, early hypnotherapy, and the treatment
of so-called hysteria.... Third, Pendergrast offers illuminating
material about physiological states (sleep paralysis, panic attacks)
that have traditionally been mistaken for "body memories" of one
lurid kind or another. And it is Pendergrast who devotes the most
effort to analyzing the contemporary Zeitgeist in which the recovery
Frederick Crews, The New York Review of Books
- Pendergrast has written a well-researched and important
book, and his findings should rightfully scare all of us....
Pendergrast tries for evenhandedness, going so far as to offer
in-their-own-words chapters by those with repressed memories
and the therapists who treat them. But there is also a chapter
from the "retractors," women who have realized that their
memories of abuse were only products of their own imagination.
Pendergrast's account of this controversial subject is wide-ranging.
He covers everything from the nature of memory and hypnosis
to such related forms of sexual hysteria as the Salem Witch
Trials to this country's growing cult of victimization....
His strongest and most effective assaults are reserved for
the book The Courage to Heal, the bible of the repressed-memory
movement.... Pendergrast makes a strong case that what began
as a way to empower women has now victimized them, isolating
them from friends, families, and their true memories. This
is a book sure to spark a long-overdue debate, and it deserves
to be on library shelves, right beside The Courage to Heal.
Ilene Cooper, Booklist
- By far the most thorough journalism done on this issue
[the recovered memory debate] appears in Victims of
Katy Butler, Los Angeles Times
- Victims of Memory is...a comprehensive study
of a disturbing phenomenon which began to sweep the
U.S. in the mid-Eighties, reaching Britain in the
Sarah Strickland, The London Observer
- A much-acclaimed rebuttal to various bibles
of the recovered-memory movement.
Richard Marius, Harvard Magazine
- Victims of Memory traces the roots
of a phenomenon that exploded in the late
1980s and is now reaping a thunderous backlash....
Pendergrast explores a variety of contexts
for the phenomenon, from Freudian theory and
witchcraft hysteria to fundamentalist religion
and the modern feminist movement. Informing
Pendergrast's book is a deep sense of social
Joseph P. Kahn, The Boston Globe
Contact information for Mark PendergrastTo visit Mark Pendergrast's personal Web site, Click Here.
The site should contain current contact information, as well as descriptions of his other books. Any journalist who has difficulty reaching him for an interview should call Upper Access at (802)482-2988 or e-mail us .
Sample questions for journalists and talk-show hosts, on the topic of recovered memories
- What exactly is recovered memory therapy? What is the theory
- I gather that Freud is not one of your heroes. Can you
talk about his theories and his influence?
- Why would someone want to believe something so terrible
about their parents if there was no basis to it at all?
Where there's smoke, isn't there usually fire?
- You have lost all contact with your own children
because of recovered memory therapy. Because you
are so personally involved, have you had people
question your conclusions? Can you tell us about
what happened in your case?
- Why would these therapists try to convince
their clients of something so horrible? Are
they sick or evil?
- Do you think that anyone's memory could
- Are certain personality types more
susceptible to false memories than others?
- Is recovered memory therapy a
form of brain-washing?
- You compare this kind of therapy
to a cult. Why?
- Are you against all therapy?
- Can you explain what
methods lead to false
dream analysis, "body
- Are you saying
that hypnosis doesn't
dredge up real memories
from you subconscious?
- How does memory
Is it like a
you punch the
and the memory
- A lot
- You compare the hunt for alleged perverts in the late 20th century to the Salem Witch Hunt of the late 17th century. Why?
- You compare the hunt for alleged sex perverts in the late 20th century to the Salem Witch Hunt of the late 17th century. Why?
Catalog listings of Mark Pendergrast's BooksFor the complete listing of information about Pendergrast's book Victims of Memory: Sex Abuse Accusations and Shattered Lives, Click Here
For the complete listing of information about his book Mirror Mirror: A History of the Human Love Affair with Reflection, Click Here