A bestselling book published in 1973, and a television movie starring Sally Field and Joanne Woodward, Sybil was both a pop culture phenomenon and a revolutionary force in the therapeutic industry. Sybil sold more than 6 million copies worldwide and influenced the way millions of people, young and old, saw themselves, their families, their sexuality, and their own psyches. Before Sybil was published, there had been fewer than 200 known cases of multiple personality disorder in history; afterwards, approximately 40,000 people were diagnosed with it in just a few years. Now in her news-breaking book, journalist Debbie Nathan gives proof that the supposed “true” story was largely fabricated.
Exposing Sybil combines fascinating, near mythic drama with serious journalism to reveal what really powered the legend: a trio of women—the willing patient, her devoted shrink, and the ambitious journalist who spun their story into bestseller gold. Nathan followed an enormous trail of papers, records, photos, and tapes to unearth the lives of these three women and tell the real tale. The result is an intensely fascinating portrait not just of the pop culture phenomenon, but of the complex psychological factors that primed the nation to receive it.
Journalist Debbie Nathan is the author of Satan’s Silence