David Cesarani

Rotten Apples

The Lucifer Effect: How Good People Turn Evil

By

Rider 551pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

By now we are all too familiar with the ghastly images that came out of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2004. But no one was more appalled than Philip Zimbardo, emeritus professor of psychology at Stanford University. They brought back to him chilling memories of the experiment he had conducted at Stanford thirty-three years earlier. To his horror, the behaviour of the guards seemed exactly to replicate what occurred in a basement of the university when he simulated conditions in a prison. Before long he was approached to act as an expert witness on behalf of one of the military policemen accused of abusing Iraqi prisoners. In The Lucifer Effect Zimbardo recounts the Stanford Prison Experiment and goes on to record his investigation of the real abuses that happened in Abu Ghraib. It is an absorbing work, packed with insight into human behaviour and streetwise observations that go back to his childhood in the South Bronx.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,
    • 'Munch’s later works show us a man liberated from the torments that gave rise to some of the best-known early works… ,
    • 'We read from left to right and from start to finish. Or do we?' Stuart Hannabus considers the merits of reading i… ,
    • Domestic scandal, sexual abuse and serial killers are on the menu in April's crime round-up. revie… ,
    • What did Samuel Johnson, Joshua Reynolds, James Boswell and Edmund Burke all have in common? Clare Bucknell reveal… ,