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The Shoemaker: The Anatomy of a Psychotic - Flora Rheta Schreiber

New York: Simon & Schuster, 1983, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Dust wrapper tanned on the verso. Binding is dulled, slightly grubby in appearance. Text complete, clean and tight.

Contains: Black & white photographs; Appendices [2];

From the cover: “Flora Rheta Schreiber is the author of Sybil, the shocking and explosive best seller that explored the mind of a woman possessed by multiple personalities. Her long-awaited new book is a true story of a man possessed by demons, a man whose ordinary, decent human impulses have been thwarted and diverted into an overwhelming compulsion to kill and destroy.

Like such classic studies of the criminal act as In Cold Blood, Helter Skelter and The Executioner’s Song, The Shoemaker is on one level a brilliant and terrifying re-creation of a crime that made headlines: the bizarre story of a man who embarked on a spree of burglary, rape and eventually murder. But beyond this painstaking, compelling reconstruction of events, Professor Schreiber has taken us on an extraordinary journey into the mind and soul of a psychotic.

Seldom has any book illuminated with such clarity and passion a landscape of the mind that is both appalling and fascinating — for Joseph Kallinger is at once a poet and a murderer, a loving father and the killer of one of his own sons, a devoted husband and a vicious rapist, a dreamer and a man obsessed by nightmares of horror and destruction.

What made Sybil such an extraordinary best seller was the unique combination of sensitivity, skill and insight with which Flora Rheta Schreiber uncovered the hidden layers of a multiple personality. In The Shoemaker she has delved with the same skill into the complex world of Joseph Kallinger. From thousands of hours of interviews, Professor Schreiber has drawn from Kallinger the story of a life in which every human contact seemed destined to lead him to the final paroxysm of terror — which was, in retrospect, not only predictable, but preventable. Society — teachers, the police, judges, even psychiatrists — ignored or misinterpreted his illness and failed to help him even when he begged for help. Again and again, the warning signs of a personality in the process of disintegration were ignored, as Kallinger’s needs had been ignored in his childhood. Abandoned by his mother, abused and persecuted by his foster parents, the sensitive child was crushed, his dreams perverted into the hallucinating nightmare images that obsessed him as an adult.

In The Shoemaker, Flora Rheta Schreiber has not only revealed the secret life and mind of a man consumed by evil despite himself, but has succeeded in discovering that exact moment when the sensitive child was turned into a creature whose increasingly dark and compelling fantasies moved inexorably toward the violent visions that eventually destroyed him — and his innocent victims.

That breakthrough — the revelation that Kallinger’s sickness was imprinted on his subconscious in one single, chilling moment of punishment by foster parents who acted out of ignorance and their own misguided notions of child rearing — is at the heart of a book that is at once a landmark in our understanding of criminal psychology and the moving story of a man struggling alone against his own demons.

The Shoemaker is a document of profound importance. Professor Schreiber has taken us on a voyage into the human mind and heart that no reader will ever forget, and shown us an image of evil in which all of us, however reluctantly, will see a reflection of ourselves.”


Size: 8¾" x 5¾". Quarter-bound Black on Black boards with Red titling to the Spine. 432 pages.
£31.00