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Carlisle, Jock A.

Toronto, University of Toronto, Press, c1985. 258pp. paper, ISBN 0-8020-2558-7 (cloth) $25.00, 0-8020-6577-5 (paper) $9.95.CIP

Reviewed by Glenn DiPasquale

Volume XX Number X
19XX Month

Every now and then one encounters a book that has a double-barrelled impact, in that you learn as much about the author as you do about the topic. This book is like that. When you finish reading il you will be very knowledgeable, on a lay person's level, about the enigmatic speech disorder called stuttering. But also, you will be acquainted with a remarkable warm and courageous man who, despite a severe stutter, managed to obtain a PhD and enjoy a successful career. You will feel that you have come to know the author because he shares his memories and innermost feelings and thoughts with the reader to illustrate the plight of the stutterer in our society.

But this is not a bitter or depressing book. The author is clearly an optimistic, determined individual and numerous anecdotes show how his humour, wit, and insight helped him to be a survivor. He has written a very readable, optimistic book that is extremely informative about the history, research, and current practices in this area of the field of speech pathology. But it is the personal nature of this book that sets it apart. There are better books around if one is interested in detailed accounts of neurological or psychological theories of the etiology of stuttering. Similarly, several books do a better job of describing the various approaches to therapy. What makes this book so valuable is that it brings us inside the private, often tense, fear-filled world of the stutterer, without getting maudlin or soliciting pity, and puts the research and theory into human terms.

Carlisle explodes myths by the bushel in describing the disorder and the current state of the art in research and therapy. He keeps the discussion on a fairly simple, non-techchnical level and does an admirable job of informing and enlightening. However, I found the book to be a bit long, mainly because the author tries to tell us absolutely everything about stuttering, and tries too hard to give equal time to the various theories, approaches, and therapies, both past and present. Nonetheless, readers will like this book, and probably like the man even more.

In the last paragraph Carlisle writes, "People who stutter deserve better from society, and maybe this book will help in a small way to achieve this." I think this book will have more than a small impact. I highly recommend it for stutterers, their families and friends, and professionals in the field.

Glenn DiPasquale, York Region Board of Education, Newmarket, Ont.
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