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Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, and Other Sex Offenders

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  785 ratings  ·  94 reviews
(...)in the creative ways they exclude their children from the discussion.
"You're so right," they say: "Sexual abuse is an enormous problem, particularly for young teens. Thank God mine aren't there yet."

No, sorry, says reality, the most common age at which sexual abuse begins is three.

"Well sure, if you have homosexuals around small children, there's a risk."

No, sorry, s
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 31st 2004 by Basic Books (first published 2003)
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My ability to still keep faith with the human kind astonishes me. As its title suggests, this is a work about sex offenders of all kinds, be they psychopathic or not. Some of the interviews in this book are very graphic; it is not the description of what they've done that bothers me, but the attitude of the man or woman who did something to a child that I could never dream of doing. One of the interviews in this book is on Youtube: a good looking, smiley man with a slow Southern accent tells of ...more
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2018: I reread this after conversations surrounding Brett Kavanaugh and other sexual assault stories made me recall certain pieces of this book.

Overall this has has help up well and so has my review.

A few more things:

I very much appreciate her distinctions between sadists and psychopaths. This is an important piece and this distinction is not made at all, or is obscured, in typical media discussions of psychopathy.

The chapter on staff seduction is particularly illuminating beca
Azira Levana
Nov 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone, but especially anyone who's been abused or who is a parent or carer of children.
Recommended to Azira by: Friend/psychologist who specialises in trauma.
Here is an excerpt from the foreword of this book (written by Gavin de Becker):


I'm beginning this Foreword as I will close it: Thank you, Anna Salter, for casting your authoritative light on sexual abuse while most people find it easier to look away or even deny that it exists. It is easier for most parents to wring their hands about the unknown molester who might wander into the neighbourhood, than to accept that someone who they invited into the house is sexually abusing their child - even
Caidyn (he/him/his)
CW: descriptions of child sexual abuse and rape, grooming, sadism, and anything you can expect from sexually violent predators

I'm glad that I read this book, but it was a difficult one to get through. I've watched a few of her educational videos on Youtube and they're very, well, educational! Most of the material, i.e. interviews, in this book were taken directly from them. So, I was sitting there able to get a picture in my mind of the man who was talking. The book opens up with a 40-page long
Jim Angstadt
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, And Other Sex Offenders
Anna C. Salter, PhD

This is a very good mix of theory, data, psychology, and first person narrative.

But the subject is a slippery one. For those who just want the bottom line, the bottom line will not help. One has to get rid of all the mental garbage that gets in the way of understanding. Then understand a new reality. Then, maybe, the bottom line is for you.

Notes while reading:

0. Forward by Gavin de Becker

If a discussion requires exploratio
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Anna Salter is a very good, engaging author with terrifically graphic descriptions of how these people think, react, and plan. While this is an upsetting book to read, it should be required reading if you work with children. For parents, the best part of the book is the last 20 pages. While detecting lies and dangerous people is extremely difficult and chancy, deflecting abusers from your children sounds relatively easy. First, be involved in your child's life--know the coaches, go to your kids' ...more
Stacy Naberhuis
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book had a lot of new information in it. I know we all hear about these things in the news, but how much do we really know? Is it enough to keep you safe? This book answers those questions.

It starts with information on the offenders and how they got away with it for so long, and how they finally got caught. The scary part is how long most of them got away with it. And how many people they victimized before they were locked up.

At the end of the book is information on how to spot someone who
Dec 04, 2009 rated it liked it
While I don't think many mothers would add this to their list of light reading - I SUGGEST YOU DO! There is no better defense than a good offense and knowing how to protect yourself and your children is so important. While I know this book may not sound like the greatest thing to read, I think it's more important than a lot of other books. Please at least just consider it. It's a quick read filled with lots of information, examples and ways to protect your children...just read it. ...more
Kate Woods Walker
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Don't make this the first book you read on this subject. It's a realistic look at predators--not quite as brutal as I, Monster, but close enough to warrant caution. Nevertheless, it should be on the shelves of anyone who has been harmed by a predator.

The chapter titled "Rose Colored Glasses and Trauma" could be invaluable to victims, family and counselors.

Anna C. Salter has written a wise and useful book.
Aug 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
Read this for work. Nothing too enlightening here. Predators are everywhere, but most likely will be someone you know, sex abuse screws up kids, yahdayahda... written from an extremely alarmist perspective.
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not for the faint of heart. This book provides valuable insight for people working with victims of child sexual abuse. If this isn’t your field, it’s a very hard read. I’m a forensic interviewer and I struggled with some of the content and had to skip the chapter on sadists in its entirety.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever heard themselves defending someone who has been accused of rape and/or sexual abuse. All of you “people” who insist the offender was too nice to do somethin
Bastard Travel
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A gruesome, harrowing book, but by no fault of the author. It's a gruesome, harrowing subject.

Salter has worked with kids for her entire career. When she first started, she was surprised by how prominent sexual abuse was; for a while she thought that her little corner of New Hampshire was some kind of incest vein, the factory from which all the pedophiles in the world were manufactured. The longer she stayed in psychology, the more she realized there was nothing special about New Hampshire. It's
This book is unspeakably important. I cannot overemphasize how valuable this work is. Dr. Salter presents her analysis clearly and brilliantly, and she's a great writer to boot, which helps make the subject matter more digestible (though -- warning! -- you will most likely find this read deeply upsetting, and I myself wonder if I could still have read this book if I had children). There's just not more to say except that this is information everyone should know. The difficulty many have in accep ...more
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
Predators is an eye-opening book by clinical psychologist Anna Salter, focused on sexual abuse (of mostly minors) in the US. 38% of young women and 9-16% of young men mention they experienced some sort of abuse during their lifetime in victim surveys. Needless to say, these rates are extremely high. According to Salter these (incredulously high) sexual crimes are committed by a small minority of very active sexual offenders (pedophiles, rapists, sadists, psychopaths, etc.) who make many victims. ...more
Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any women, anyone who knows, cares about, or has children
Shelves: non-fiction
This book, like Gail Dines' Pornland, is incredibly difficult to read but absolutely worth reading. Dr. Salter's main premises are that a)sexual predators are more devious than any "normal" person would ever anticipate, b)you are easy to fool and you cannot easily detect sexual predators, and c)you need to live with caution, awareness, and intentionality, especially in regards to one's children.

I've done a lot of abuse prevention training for the summer camp I work for, and so while most of thes
Nov 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Out of all the books I've been reading (and there's more than I put on my list), this is the best book on child molesters and sex offenders. Well-written, easy to read - although its very difficult subject matter. Sometimes she's pretty graphic... but without that, I'd never really understand the seriousness and complexity of the problem.

I'd recommend this to any parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, daycare, babysitter - if you want to really protect kids, this illustrates what you're up agai
Nov 04, 2013 rated it liked it
I wouldn't say I *liked* this book, and it's pretty clear that Anna Salter's worldview has been dramatically altered by all her up-close-and-personal dealings with some really nasty prisoners.

It's definitely not for the faint of heart. And, even she warns you about her chapter on sadists.

The most valuable thing she emphasizes: People are often delusional about their ability to tell "the bad guys." Her suggestion is to not even bother trying and to assume that *anyone* could offend. The "nice gu
Eleanor Cowan
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing

Easy to read, Dr. Salter's engaging style sweeps away clouds of wishy washy thinking that insists that we are all born equal and that we must be kind. No!

This book sounds a warning bell to trusting people who are easily duped by clever manipulators!

A great book for those wanting to educate themselves - and their loved ones.

Eleanor Cowan, author of : A History of a Pedophile's Wife: Memoir of a Canadian Teacher and Writer

Nathan Albright
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: challenge-2020
Reading a book like this, apart from its subject matter, is a fascinating experience for a variety of reasons.  For one, this book is written from the point of view of FBI agents who made it their mission to target the violent abusers of people and who have a surprisingly shrewd view of domestic paramilitary groups who they praise for their desire to protect the innocent.  Likewise, the authors of this book prove themselves to be rather keen on understanding the mind of a predator and also on ma ...more
I’ve enjoyed Anna Salter’s work for many years. In my view she combines dead cold science with her passion to defend child sexual abuse survivors in an ideal way. This makes for a pleasant and engaging read, and it also shows that her scientific approach didn’t cost her her humanity. Which isn’t a given in that field.

I greatly appreciated that she takes Judith Levine’s despicable and unfathomably badly researched book Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex to task, as wel
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An eye-opening and disturbing book, but important to read in my opinion, as a bit of a wake-up call.

It goes into great detail into how sexual predators operate, how they think, and sadly how often they get away with their crimes for decades, even after being repeatedly accused and even convicted of crimes. It was published in 2003 and I think society at-large has increased awareness on some of these topics, more-so than they did back then, but it's still a valuable read in my opinion.

The most v
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone!
In spite of the old adage, I was a bit concerned this book would be sensationalist from its cover and striking name, but I was very happy to find that it is not only grounded but more informative than I expected.

Salter's "Predators" is a straightforward guide for the average person about how to deal with predators, primarily child molesters, not only giving the basics that most people with a passing interest in criminology will already know, but also a lot of information that will come as a surp
Jul 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dumpster-fire
I don't understand why someone who wrote such a biased waste of paper gets such high marks. Salter makes it clear from the get-go she has a huge bias against people accused of sexual offenses. In her world, all men are guilty, and those found innocent were just manipulative. The book reads like a Feminist's Tumblr account. There are no useful studies in this book (she sites junk science like polygraphs and the Abel assessment); the book is pretty much Salter's ego on full display.

If you think s
This book should be required reading for parents, teachers, babysitters, doctors, social workers, and all others involved in caring for children. Anna Salter is an extraordinary researcher and a skilled writer. I thank her for daring to do the work she does.

That being said, please note that the content could be extremely triggering for sexual trauma survivors. Even non-survivors should be careful to read in small doses and check in with their emotional responses frequently. There are graphic det
Lisa Seter
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this on the advice of a counselor because a person I love blames herself for being the victim of a predator and the counselor wanted us to see how persuasive predators are so she can move forward and forgive herself. The only real criticism I have is when the author talks about protecting your kids she doesn't suggest that you actually tell your kids about the people who could hurt them and to watch out for themselves. As a survivor of sexual assault as both a child and an adult it would ...more
Lindsey Swanson
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a very informative and difficult book to read. It's the kind of book that most people won't make themselves read, but it's very realistic in terms of the darkness in the world. (It's worth noting that I skipped the sadist chapter because I don't need more detail to add to my nightmares.) The biggest takeaway, for me, was that predators depend on people to assume the best in them and use that to their advantage. ...more
Sarah Heath
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a tough read. Not because it was poorly written, but because it was raw and VERY informative. As a mother of two young boys, this was an important book for me to read. I think every parent owes it to themselves to read this. I feel armed with all the tools and information to properly protect my family and myself. I would give this 10 stars ⭐️ if I could. It is well deserving.
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
this should be compulsory reading if you want to recognize and avoid the predators that surround us. Great information, well-delivered. My only complaint about the book was the font size was a little small and the printing was faint so I found it difficult to read. Wish more people would read this book.

Would love to chat with the author as I had some specific questions/observations.
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was beyond eye opening and very informative. The author doesn’t back down from tough topics, and provides dozens of studies and resources to back up her statements. Every parent should read this book.
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is an eye opening look at sex offenders and predators. It reviews how to protect yourself and your families from their deception and abuse. I found it a good read but probably not for the faint of heart.
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Aka Anna Salter

Anna Salter, Ph.D., is a forensic psychologist and internationally known authority on sex offenders. She is the author of novels featuring Dr. Michael Stone. She also lectures worldwide and has written two academic books on sex abuse. Dr. Salter is in private practice in Madison, Wisconsin, and consults to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

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“We mute the realization of malevolence- which is too threatening to bear - by turning offenders into victims themselves and by describing their behavior as the result of forces beyond their control.” 22 likes
“Recently I interviewed a psychopath. This is always a humbling experience because it teaches over and over how much of human motivation and experience is outside my narrow range. Despite the psychopath's lack of conscience and lack of empathy for others, he is inevitably better at fooling people than any other type of offender. I suppose conscience just slows you down. A child convicted molester, this particular one made friends with a correctional officer who invited him to live in his home after he was released - despite the fact the officer had a nine-year-old daughter.
The officer and his wife were so taken with the offender that, after the offender lived with them for a few months, they initiated adoption proceedings- adoption for a man almost their age. Of course, he was a child molester living in the same house as a child. Not surprisingly, he molested the daughter the entire time he lived there. [...]
What these experiences taught have me is that even when people are warned of a previously founded case of even a conviction, they still routinely underestimate the pathology with which they are dealing.”
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