Reviews of From Madness to Mutiny
“Groundbreaking Book: From Madness to Mutiny . . . offers a comprehensive set of legislative and policy changes that, if adopted, could help to transform our family courts from instruments of punishment to true institutions of justice.” In Bergen County, The Magazine (September/October 2005).
“From Madness to Mutiny ... the culmination of 20 years of research, studies the cases of 1,000 women across the country who reported that their children had been the victims of sexual abuse, only to find themselves attacked by the family court system, often losing custody of their children.” , The Jewish Advocate, Boston (May 27, 2005)
“... a book shining an unflinching light on the abuses [mothers] have suffered at the hands of misguided family court judges with too much absolute power and too little critical oversight is the only Mother’s Day gift that matters. And while it is often tempting to look away from the unvarnished truth, you will find this a hard book to put down, because it is a book that matters.” , The Residential, Edgewater, NJ (May 2005)
“Sociologist Amy Neustein and Attorney Michael Lesher paint a frightening portrait of how the American legal system oftentimes victimizes children who have been allegedly sexually abused by their fathers. . . . The analysis of specific court cases, family court proceedings . . . and judicial reform (or lack thereof) make From Madness to Mutiny a compelling, if emotionally difficult, read.” , Women’s Studies 34:521-528, September 2005 (Routledge/Taylor and Francis).
“From Madness to Mutiny. . . is one of the most disturbing books that I have reviewed. After getting past the horrendous accounts of injustice, the importance of the book is quite evident. It contributes not only to the sociology of the family, but also to our understanding of the inequities within the criminal justice system for women and children. Neustein and Lesher draw attention to an issue that warrants much more attention from researchers, policy-makers, and the general public. . . . This book will appeal not only to family researchers across disciplines, but also to people who work with and advocate for children.” , Contemporary Sociology 35(5):478-479, September 2006 (posted here by permission of the American Sociological Association).
“Amy Neustein and Michael Lesher have produced a searing and profoundly disturbing indictment of family courts in the United States. . . . They provide an unusually rich and detailed documentation of how the U.S. family court system fails to protect children who have been sexually abused by their fathers and punishes the mothers who bring good-faith accusations of this sexual abuse. . . . One defining feature of their research is, in fact, the analysis of a single case during its lifetime. It is this feature that allows the authors to tell such poignant and painful real-life stories. . . . In the second section of Part III, the authors propose their specific reforms for the family courts. . . . I commend Neustein and Lesher for their major contribution to this struggle.” , Violence Against Women 12(5):519-525, May 2006 (Sage Publications).
“In From Madness to Mutiny Neustein and Lesher review and reflect on documents from more than 4,000 cases. . . . Theirs is a brave and much needed effort. From Madness to Mutiny is published in in one of today’s more prominent university press criminal justice series. I thank them and Neustein and Lesher for the courage and skill to bring this problem to broader social attention.” , National Women’s Studies Association, 18(1):230-232, Spring 2006 (Indiana University Press).
“From Madness to Mutiny is the first scholarly and comprehensive study to date of the phenomenon. The book documents case after case where accusations of sexual abuse resulted in forced contact with the alleged abuser, and sometimes complete termination of parental contact with a loving parent who seeks only to protect the child.” , Family Violence & Sexual Assault Bulletin, 21(2), 2005.
“Neustein and Lesher elegantly describe the upside-down, inside-out, Alice-in-Wonderland framework that permeates the family courts. . . . From Madness to Mutiny takes the doors off the Potemkin village-like family courthouse to reveal the perverse reasoning of judges, attorneys, and favored psychological ‘experts’ and the secret proceedings and money-and-power-driven culture that result in legal outcomes ranging from unjust to harmful to atrocious. . . . Absent the total ‘rebirthing’ of the system called for by Neustein and Lesher, the family courts are like a ship whose captain and crew have gone utterly mad, whose only chance of redemption is mutiny by the passengers.” , Criminal Justice Review, 33(1), March 2008, pp. 118-120 (Georgia State University Research Foundation, Inc./Sage Publications).
“From Madness to Mutiny . . . is the first scholarly volume to analyze the process and the consequences of systems failure in the family court, the place where such a failure has the most devastating effect on the most vulnerable members of society: children. . . . [I]t is a volume that belongs on the bookshelf of every professional who deals with child custody and child abuse, from lawyers and judges to psychologists and social workers.” , Journal of Child Custody, July 2009, 6:326-332.
“Dr. [Judith] Herman was correct when she stated ‘Atrocities . . . refuse to be buried. Remembering and telling the truth about terrible events are prerequisites both for the restoration of the social order and for the healing of individual victims.’ Neustein and Lesher’s book takes important steps toward these crucial goals.” , New York Law Journal, July 12, 2006 (pg. 2).
“I highly recommend From Madness to Mutiny as required reading in family law courses in our law schools as well for trainings for judges, therapists, social workers, child protective services and law enforcement as well as for anyone who is writing seriously about child abuse. Most of all, I applaud Neustein and Lesher for putting a book into the hands of so many protective mothers (or other protective relatives) that will let them know that they are not alone and that they are not crazy for wanting to do everything in their power to protect their precious children.” , Sexual Assault Report (May/June 2005).
“. . . [T]he book presents significant evidence of systemic failure . . . it is an important reminder of the need for very thorough and careful investigation of and hearing on all charges of child abuse and custodial conditions.” , Professor, , in discussion of books nominated for the annual Scribes Prize from the American Society of Writers on Legal Subjects, August 2006.
“Make sure everyone knows about the incredible new book available from entitled From Madness to Mutiny: Why Mothers Are Running from the Family Courts--and What Can Be Done about It by Amy Neustein and Michael Lesher. If every one of us sent one copy of this book to our local Family Law Judge we would see a huge change in how these cases are handled. I sent one copy to one judge who cares, and he sent 25 copies to 25 other judges, on his own steam and at his own expense! Please try this.” , Executive Director, , Berkeley, CA, in post to email list, October 18, 2005.
“This volume will be revealing and distressing to those readers who have never been involved in family court and who trust that those charged with protecting children are actually doing so, rather than placing them in situations where they are likely to suffer even more trauma. Most people assume that the cases involving outrageous treatment of mothers and children that have been publicized in the popular media are rare occurrences but the writers show that this is far from being the case.” , Women’s VU (Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center at Vanderbilt University), November 2005, pg. 4.
“When you study large numbers of cases as the authors have done, however, it becomes apparent that the fault is not with the mother but with the system. The same mistakes are made repeatedly by judges, lawyers, law guardians, mental health professionals, child protective workers and other players in the system. The authors’ contribution is to help us see this pattern of abuse in the courts.” , on Amazon.com (June 19, 2005).
“This is not light reading. Sociologist Neustein and attorney Lesher have written a shocking indictment of the U.S. family court system. After studying over a thousand cases, they find a clear pattern of abuse by the system itself, directed against sexually-abused children and the parents who try to protect them.” , on Amazon.com (June 13, 2005).
“Neustein and Lesher’s well-documented and eminently readable book rips the curtains off the abject degeneration into madness of today’s family court system. In searing detail, the book points a much deserved finger of blame at the actors in this legal nightmare--the attorneys, law guardians (lawyers for the children), judges, custody evaluators, and other court ‘auxiliaries’.” , psychology professor, Siena College, on BarnesAndNoble.com (April 22, 2005).
Reviews of Tempest in the Temple
“Sociologist Amy Neustein has midwifed an endangered subject matter to safety in the Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture, & Life. . . . Neustein’s fascinating collection includes perspectives from rabbis, lawyers, psychotherapists, social workers, and educators who seek to empower children against predators. . . . This book helps us begin the discussions we have resisted too long.” , in Providence Journal (May 10, 2009).
“The volume’s prevailing strength is in offering insight into the gravity of this crime. . . . Certainly, a very timely exposure of a current serious problem found in not only the Orthodox Jewish religion, but also other major Christian and non-Christian religions. . . . Highly recommended.” , in CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries (a publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association) (April 2010), p. 1579.
“This important book . . . outlines, through firsthand accounts of clergy, educators, lawyers, and therapists, the complex nature of [child abuse by rabbis] and provides useful tools for addressing the problem in its many different facets. . . . the collection’s ability to provide real insight into the issue of sexual abuse in Jewish communities makes it especially useful for those training to be clerics and community leaders. Indeed, it should be required reading.” , in H-Net Reviews in the Humanities & Social Sciences (November 2010); reprinted on blog (February 23, 2011).
“Tempest in the Temple is a disturbing account of child sex abuse in the Jewish community. Eleven rabbis, lawyers, sociologists and scholars contribute nine chapters to bring this issue out of the closet by exposing religious leaders who violate sexual boundaries in the synagogue and the yeshiva. Rabbis who betray their trust through active pedophilia has become a shanda among embarrassed Jews. Who are they and how can that happen?” , in 15 Minutes on-line magazine (June/July 2009).
“I never dreamt that I would see a book like this. . . . The book is, in effect, a way to learn how to protect children and thereby make Jewish communities safe havens. . . . The book may shock you as it did me but it is also a call to make sure that something like this will never happen. It is a must read for all those who have children, want to have children and who work with children.” , in Reviews by Amos Lassen, written by one of the most influential on-line Amazon.com book reviewers in America (March 27, 2011).
“Tempest in the Temple . . . was published . . . as part of a Brandeis series on American Jewish life. Various authors contributed chapters to the book. They range from the rabbi of a Massachusetts congregation on accusations against the longtime cantor there to strategies on prosecuting perpetrators by Amy Neustein, editor of ‘Tempest.’ In [one] chapter, Dr. [Joyanna] Silberg’s . . . primary focus is the communal backlash that often occurs in response to accusations.” , in Baltimore Jewish Times (July 31, 2009), pp. 20-21.
“Neustein’s Tempest in the Temple: Jewish Communities & Child Sex Scandals . . . bears a respectable imprimatur and includes contributions from sociologists, psychologists, and other professionals . . . [W]hen it comes to the protection of children from abuse, it should be agreed that the real scandal would be to remain silent.” , in Tablet (June 22, 2009). In a retrospective (September 15, 2011), Lambert listed Tempest among the most important books he had reviewed over the previous two years.
“Tempest in the Temple is the first-ever comprehensive book on this painful & controversial subject, and as such is ‘important’ in every sense. . . . With each chapter by a different expert contributor, and written from a different professional angle . . . the book itself was compelling to read. . . . Tempest in the Temple is a pioneering book, offering a broad range of highly readable, thorough, balanced, professional studies and first hand accounts concerning the chosen subject matter of Jewish Communities and Child Sex Scandals. It is my recommendation that Tempest in the Temple should be read particularly by those involved in Jewish community life, including Jewish social services, education, congregational management, and rabbinical training.” , on his blog Tzedek-Tzedek (tzedek-tzedek.blogspot.com) (October 21, 2009) -- and reprinted in the section of The Jewish Press (November 11, 2009), pp. F2, F4.
“This book . . . provides much in resources should a situation of sexual abuse by a leader in the Jewish community arise. It’s the kind of book that belongs on a communal library shelf, to be consulted as needed.” , in San Diego Jewish World (January 23, 2010).
“Excellent edited book on sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community. . . . Amy Neustein is yet another voice dragging the sexual violation of the young by trusted elders out of society’s skeleton closet.” Clinical psychologist , in her on-line review site Goodreads (goodreads.com) (September, 2009).
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