Nobody's Child: A Tragedy, a Trial, and a History of the Insanity Defense (Hardcover)

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Description


A powerful and humane exploration of the history of the "insanity defense," through the story of one poignant case.


When a three-year-old child was found with a head wound and other injuries, it looked like an open-and-shut case of second-degree murder. Psychologist and attorney Susan Vinocour agreed to evaluate the defendant, the child's mentally ill and impoverished grandmother, to determine whether she was competent to stand trial. Even if she had caused the child's death, had she realized at the time that her actions were wrong or was she legally "insane"?


What followed was anything but an open-and-shut case. Nobody's Child traces the legal definition of "insanity" back to its inception in Victorian Britain nearly two hundred years ago, from when our understanding of the human mind was in its infancy, to today, when questions of race, class, and ability so often determine who is legally "insane" and who is criminally guilty. Vinocour explains how "competency" and "insanity" are creatures of a legal system, not of psychiatric reality, and how, in criminal law, the insanity defense has to often been a luxury of the rich and white.


Nobody's Child is a profoundly dignified portrait of injustice in America and a complex examination of the troubling intersection of mental health and the law. When prisons are now the largest institutions for the mentally ill, Vinocour demands that we reckon with our conceptions of "insanity" with clarity, empathy, and responsibility.



About the Author


Susan Vinocour is a retired clinical and forensic psychologist, a former prosecutor, and a former associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. She lives in Pittsford, New York.

Praise For…


A deeply moving tale of what happens when we ‘treat’ severe poverty and mental illness through the criminal justice system. Drawing on her firsthand experience and expertise with a modern-day insanity defense trial, Susan Vinocour writes like a novelist, showing us in riveting detail just how injustice operates.
— David Cole, national legal director, ACLU, and author of Engines of Liberty

As passionate as she is knowledgeable, Susan Vinocour brings humanity and dignity to telling the story of a woman whose voice we would otherwise never hear. Nobody's Child wraps a powerful narrative, a thought-provoking reflection on truth and evidence, and a wake-up call about the law's misunderstandings of mental illness into one unforgettable book.

— Susan Cheever, author of Drinking in America

In the age of the accelerated news cycle, the weaponization of outrage, and the easy rush to judgment, Nobody's Child is a harrowing journey through our broken judicial system. Susan Vinocour's expertise as a forensic psychologist—along with her humanity and literary talent—makes for a galvanizing read and, ultimately, a much-needed call for compassion.

— Jessica Bruder, author of Nomadland

In this moving, well-researched account of the insanity defense…Vinocour does a fine job explaining the defense in layman's terms. Sterling prose helps make this a page-turner.
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Product Details
ISBN: 9780393651928
ISBN-10: 0393651924
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: March 24th, 2020
Pages: 352
Language: English

How to read more

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How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.

 

And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.

 

15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.

 

50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.

 

Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.

 

Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.

 

Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.

 

Outcome

Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.

 
 
 

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