True Crime Carol Pogash Seduced by Madness

ISBN 13: 9780061535673

Seduced by Madness

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9780061535673: Seduced by Madness

She was fifteen when she visited the therapist; still a teen when they first had sex. She was twenty-five when she married him and forty-four when she killed him.

In October 2002, Susan Polk, the soft-spoken mother of three teenage boys, was arrested for stabbing her husband and former therapist, Dr. Felix Polk, to death. Three years later she was tried for first degree murder, choosing to act as her own attorney in a trial that rapidly devolved into one of the most outrageous media circuses in modern history. To a crowded courtroom, Susan Polk presented her defense—a bizarre story of unethical therapies, abuse, repressed memories, and satanic rituals—and, in doing so, exposed her madness. Carol Pogash was there.

Seduced by Madness is the remarkably compelling, profoundly disturbing true story of the severe dysfunction of an affluent American family, as told by the leading journalist who worked the case. It is a spellbinding re-creation of a troubled life, a marriage, a murder, and a terrifying, inexorable descent into madness.

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About the Author:

Carol Pogash is a regular contributor to the New York Times and has written for the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Washington Post, and many other newspapers and magazines. She is the author of the book As Real As It Gets. She lives in Orinda, California.

From Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. Journalist Pogash recounts and analyzes the story of Susan Polk in a riveting summation of both her life and her sensational trial for the 2002 murder of her husband, Felix Polk. In 1972, when Susan was a bright, troubled 15-year-old, skipping school, spending long hours alone reading serious fiction, she began an intense form of therapy with Polk, a respected and brilliant Berkeley therapist who specialized in adolescence. At some disputed point during the therapy, they began an affair and Felix, 25 years her senior, left his wife and children to marry her in 1981. Pogash, in fairness, points out the liberal therapy theories of the post '60s (Felix was an est follower), but the early inappropriate relationship between Susan and Felix would weigh heavily on their marriage and figure prominently in the murder trial. They had three boys (two of whom testified against their mother) and claimed their eldest, Adam, was subjected to abuse and satanic rituals in the California preschool scandal of the '80s. While the background is fascinating, the coverage of the trial is mesmerizing. Pogash takes the characters—the two DAs, the headline-grabbing defense attorney, Susan (after the attorney's departure from the case) acting as her own counsel, the jury, the courtroom groupies—and creates an edge-of-your-seat excitement. For fans of true crime, psychology, courtroom drama and truth-is- stranger-than fiction, this is a triumph.
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