The compelling true story of the three women — a Manhattan psychiatrist, a glamorous magazine writer, and a troubled young woman — behind the psychology case that shook the world.
In the 1950s, Sybil Dorsett, a woman from a tiny Midwest town, was diagnosed with a new psychiatric condition — multiple personality disorder. Sybil was believed to have 16 separate personalities living within her: from aspiring carpenter Mike to intensely religious Nancy; from impertinent schoolgirls Peggy Lou and Peggy Ann to depressed grandmother Mary; from whimpering toddler Ruthie to the bookish, highly critical Clara.
When Flora Rheta Schreiber wrote about the case in her 1973 book Sybil, it immediately became a bestseller. Soon the Sybil case was a pop-culture phenomenon, and it grew to near-mythic proportions. The case became a touchstone for issues surrounding identity and sexuality, influencing the way millions of people saw their bodies, relationships, and psyches. And it gave rise to a new wave of diagnoses: before Sybil, there had been fewer than 200 known cases of multiple personality disorder in history; afterwards, approximately 40,000 people were diagnosed in just a few years.
In this groundbreaking book, journalist Debbie Nathan reveals, for the first time, that the Sybil case was an elaborate fraud — albeit one that the perpetrators may have half-believed. Nathan follows an enormous trail of papers, records, photos, and tapes to show that what really powered the legend was a trio of women who together spun their story into bestseller gold. The result is an intensely fascinating portrait of a pop-culture phenomenon and the complex psychological factors that primed the world to receive it.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Totally Fictional Writing
So untrue, written by someone who has never experienced D.I.D and has no insight into the truth of D.I.D. So wrong to make fame over lies.
To call D.I.D (once known as Multiple Personality) as 'pop culture' is just ridiculous. I wouldn't want to wish this onto anyone. People experiencing true DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER have been to hell and back, living and surviving horrific, ongoing child abuse. You cannot make this up or pretend or put on an act. I have been this way my whole life. I also as an adult have experience, connecting with over 100 survivors living with D.I.D. There are traits which CANNOT be taught or faked. You already display these traits without your knowledge of them. Unless you have experienced this in true form, from childhood to diagnosis, throughout therapy and beyond, you would never truly understand the ground zero of D.I.D.