pattrice's Reviews > The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
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's review
Apr 19, 2012

Read in April, 2012

Midway through, this book shifts from being about psychopathy and into the vagaries of diagnostic criteria. In making the shift Ronson does an injustice to both topics, each of which deserve a full book. It's as though the possibility of carrying questions about the endemic psychopathy in the culture and behavior of the ruling class to their logical (and very frightening) conclusion scared Ronson into diverting his inquiries. [It is, indeed, distressing to think about the degree to which (just for example) munitions manufacturers promote warfare, truly not caring who is killed in their pursuit of profit.] So, then we end up with a shallow treatment of the equally valid question of what he calls "the madness industry." Worth reading, certainly, but I wished for a different outcome. I will say this, though: There's a moment in Ronson's interview with Spitzer (the father of modern psychiatric diagnosis) that is so powerful... and, again, made me wish for a fuller treatment of that topic in a separate book.

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