Speaking with the Devil: A Dialogue with Evil

Front Cover
Viking, 1996 - Health & Fitness - 287 pages
2 Reviews
"Based on thirty years of clinical work with patients, Goldberg attempts to explain the psychological basis of malevolent behavior by incorporating heretofore unrecognized sources of deformed personality development into the existing body of knowledge. Approaching his subject from many perspectives - psychology, philosophy, theology, mythology, jurisprudence, and literature - he at once provides a cultural and historical overview of malevolence. Through that prism, supported by a five-step theory, Goldberg charts the causes and development of the malevolent personality and its resistance to self-examination. He illuminates the developmental sequence of that personality through case studies of his own patients that represent a progression of stages - from a young child shamed and humiliated by caretakers to an adult who commits malevolent acts." "Goldberg's thorough and fascinating investigation of the evolution of evil raises questions confronted in Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem, Erich Fromm's The Heart of Man, and Ernest Becker's Escape from Evil. Elaborating on arguments in those classics and drawing on his revealing case studies, Goldberg concludes that "evil" deeds are no more a product of mental illness than they are compelled by Satan. People do not turn into Jeffrey Dahmers or Susan Smiths overnight, says Goldberg, but rather "learn by doing." As he writes, "Opportunities to choose between good and bad occur continually in our lives, even in the smallest matters. How we have responded to earlier choices shapes our moral (and immoral) choices now and in the future.""--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: Speaking with the Devil: 9a Dialogue with Evil

User Review  - Portia - Goodreads

no rating--I'm really surprised I finished this one. Not particularly recommended to anyone, although this very intelligent and experienced author occasionally deigns to distill all that wisdom into a ... Read full review

Review: Speaking with the Devil: 9a Dialogue with Evil

User Review  - Kenny - Goodreads

The title does help sell the book, but that's what titles are suppossed to do. The author, gratefully, immediately announces that you won't find gratuitous gore. I was a little disappointed in that ... Read full review


The Problem of Malevolence
The History of Evil
THREE Shame and Malevolence

10 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1996)

CARL GOLDBERG was a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst for 35 years. He authored 12 books, as well as more than 170 journal articles. He was Editor-for-the-Americas of the International Journal of Psychotherapy. His book, Speaking with the Devil: Exploring Senseless Acts of Evil earned the H.M. Moss Achievement Award in 1997.

Bibliographic information