Behind the Gates of Gomorrah by Stephen Seager

Behind the Gates of Gomorrah

Psychiatrist Stephen Seager was no stranger to locked psych wards when he accepted a job at California's Gorman State hospital, known locally as 'Gomorrah', but nothing could have prepared him for what he encountered when he stepped through its gates, a triple sally port behind the twenty-foot walls topped with shining coils of razor wire. Gorman State is one of the nation's largest forensic mental hospitals, dedicated to treating the criminally ...

Details Behind the Gates of Gomorrah

TitleBehind the Gates of Gomorrah
Release DateSep 16th, 2014
PublisherGallery Books
GenreNonfiction, Psychology, Autobiography, Memoir, Crime, True Crime, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Health, Mystery

Reviews Behind the Gates of Gomorrah

  • Petra X
    These people are insane. They can go hours, days or even a week or two without becoming involved in some violent brawl and inevitably getting hurt. These are the doctors, this is the author. Why would anyone sane go to a job where people get killed, others have long recovery periods from violent episodes and where cuts and bruises are just part of the job? Who else would do that without ever-present Security, or even being allowed to carry Mace, ...
  • Diane S ☔
    A very enlightening book and a book that evoked for me, many strong emotions. On one hand I feel the greatest admiration for all that work in these type of places. They daily put their safety and lives on the line. In this book we meet many of the doctors, the techs, the nurses and of course the patients.It is the patients that brought out another strong emotion. Anger, because this asylum is a forensic one. They take the worst criminals, that ha...
  • Paul Bryant
    All in a day’s work for Dr Seager at Napa State Hospital in California:I’d just made it back to my office door when an alarm rang. I joined Cohen and a crowd that surged toward Unit C, where another battle had begun. “Stupid bitch!” Mathews yelled as three staff members hustled him toward the restraint room. Luella sat on the floor, forehead resting on bent knees, blood dripping. p47And a week after thatI pushed my alarm. Sirens erupted....
  • Lisa Vegan
    Why on earth was this the book I could quickly sail through, when I’m struggling with so many other books?! It literally gave me nightmares. Thank goodness it has some comic relief and family aspects in the narrative. I felt horrified (I guess I was supposed to) and I could never work there, at least not on a similar unit. The place seems to have changed so much. I was there as a student 3 decades ago, and while there were some forensic psych p...
  • Paul Pessolano
    “Behind the Gates of Gomorrah” by Stephen Seager, published by Gallery Books.Category – Memoir Publication Date – September 16, 2014Stephen Seager is a psychiatrist and has lived in the real world of “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. His story is based on his year living with the criminally insane.Stephen accepted a position at Napa State Hospital, yes in the Napa California Area, a state run forensic mental institution. There are ...
  • David V.
    Received this as an ARC from the publisher. Started 7-28-14. Finished the next day 7-29-14. Fast read and fascinating. I could relate to Dr. Seager's experience. As a Psych major at Penn State in the early 60's, I earned extra credit by spending a week-end at a nearby state psychiatric hospital, an overwhelming experience that I'll never forget. Then 35 years at juvenile court, and I could understand the fascination and challenge of trying to hel...
  • Theresa
    This book is both terrifying (because it's based on real problems in our criminal justice system and has descriptions of horrifying physical violence) and compelling (because it's well-written and the author explains the many problems in the system in layman's terms).I got the book last Friday afternoon and finished it after lunch on the following day. It's about a psychiatrist who takes a job in a forensic state hospital -- one of the places whe...
  • Dpdwyer
    This book left me flabbergasted. On the one hand Dr. Seager nicely evokes the ambiguity and danger of housing violent, mentally ill offenders, a substantial number of them murderers, in a hospital setting without guards. Yet his descriptions of events on his ward read like sensationalist fiction not fact. Yes, staff and patients can both be victims of violence in this kind of hospital, but not on an everyday basis as his account suggests. (Just f...
  • Amanda Jane
    I was quite disappointed with this book. For some reason the "events" didn't ring true. I can't explain it but I just felt something was amiss.The last few chapters he goes on to a whole mass murder and gun control rant which had nothing really to do with the Forensic Napa Hospital. I suspect these issues may have been his true reasons for writing the book in the first place.UPDATE 12th May 2015After talking to the author it seems that the rant w...
  • Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
    Behind the Gates of Gomorrah is a fascinating insider's view of life inside the Napa State Psychiatric Hospital in California by physician/psychiatrist, Dr Stephen Seager. Napa State is a low to moderate security facility, housing around 1300 men and women committed to the hospital by both civil and forensic (court mandated) referral. The patients suffer from a range of serious mental health problems including mood, personality and anxiety disord...
  • Tina
    Wow, I cannot fathom working with people with extreme mental illness much less the criminally insane of our society. Imagine going to work each day wondering if you will be punched, cut or even killed. Stephen Seager you are a brave man for taking on this job at Gorman State. I doubt that many would want your job.Kudos for a well written and informative book. Be sure to read the afterward. Stephen tells how we should house and treat the criminall...
  • Cathy
    I don’t know what motivated Dr. Seager to portray the REAL Napa State Hospital in the disparaging and scandalous way he did, but in my opinion this is not a book that should be held out to the reading public as a fair and accurate representation of ANY modern psychiatric hospital and certainly not Napa State. The fact that it's written by a member of the hospital's professional medical staff and presented as non-fiction is tantamount to libel a...
  • Laura
    A Year with the Criminally Insane Behind the Gates of GomorrahBy: Stephen SeagerFirst off let me catch my breath...Because and I truly mean this, you will spend more time holding your breath, gripping your book or reading devise, with your eyes glued to every page waiting for what comes next.I almost don't know how to express the admiration that I have for the people who work at { Gomorrah} and the family that stand beside them. They are waging t...
  • Claudia
    Thought-provoking, Entertaining, EnlighteningThoroughly fascinating read that kept my attention to the very last page. The author's premise "You can't be a hospital and a prison at he same time" is demonstrated by a smoothly flowing story, reminiscent of 'One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest', only from a compassionate staff psychiatrist's POV. Dr Seager addresses the problem of mental illness and crime, which includes scammers and opportunists, who h...
  • Carole
    If you think the mental health system and the penal system are both messed up, wait til they are combined. The people who work in the these types of hospital have to be the most compassionate people on earth to put up with the conditions they have to work under.
  • Zachary
    Years ago I read Seager's "Psychward", and while I liked a lot of the humanity he displayed in it, it ultimately really irked me because it became abundantly clear that Seager had amped up whatever reality he had experienced while at LA County Hospital. Many of the stories and situations, not to mention the dialog, reeked of tired TV tropes. People, even the crazy and those who care for them, simply don't act the way he portrayed them as acting. ...
  • Pennie
    There is a reason why this book is on the top best seller list, it's truly an amazing read.The true story of one Psychiatrist, a Mr. Seager, whom excepted a job at Gomorrah State Hospital in California and the incredible journey it would take him through. It is well written and full of twists and turns that you would never expect to find from such a subject. From the very start of the book, the explicit description of scenery and magnificent surr...
  • Jo Ann
    I like it! First, for me, it answered questions that satisfied much more than what I had heard while growing up. As a kid, I only heard that Napa was where "crazy people" were sent to live; though never connected patients with criminality however. Perhaps the criminally insane weren't sent there at that time.I liked that the author included information concerning notorious murders that occurred in this country over recent years. Because of Seager...
  • Kathy
    What an insight in the criminally insane and how they are housed! Also, because of their legal and human rights how they can still continue to break the law....hurt others in many ways. Well written book but leaves one with as many questions as it answers. Thank you Dr. Seager for trying to enlighten us.
  • Rachel
    I loved this book. It was exactly what I love in a non-fiction, the descriptions of the situations were so good it had me on the edge of my seat! However the ending was a little strange for me. Why would a government run hospital not contact someone they offered a job to?
  • Kate Potter
    The author, a psychiatrist, opens up the frightening world of a forensic mental hospital. It's an eye-opener. Some people arereally, really bad.
  • Xanthi
    It didn't take me long to read this book because I found myself enthralled. It's not for the faint hearted. The author gives his reader an insight to what goes on in such institutions. Prepare to be appalled. Although he gives his perspective as a staff member there, life for patients is also covered, as are the laws and mental health system in his country. It's a violent and dangerous workplace, as you think you can imagine. I say 'think' becaus...
  • Melinda Elizabeth
    If you were working in a forensic mental health facility, what would you write about? Whose story would you want to tell? I can pretty much guarantee that the answer you come up with will be different to the stories that Dr Seager decided to tell in his novel.“Behind the Gates of Gomorrah” builds up quite an evocative image in your mind. You’re already thinking about the worst of the worst – the manipulative, violent, insane criminals of ...
  • AJ
    Considering I just finished reading The Architecture of Madness, I don't think I could have picked a better time to read Behind the Gates of Gomorrah. Umpteen years after deinstitutionalization, state mental hospitals are pretty much warehouses for the only mentally ill men and women who are *required* to be there, namely, criminals. As Dr. Seager outlines in his memoir, not only the patients in the state hospitals, but also every member of the s...
  • Emmy
    This was a fascinating read! Emotionally charged, full of danger and surprises, it kept me glued to my seat, unable to put it down. The thing is, it also left me somewhat conflicted at times. After all, we're dealing with a forensic mental institution full of murderers and rapists, and yet, I found many of these people somewhat likeable. There were a couple that I really found myself connecting with, and then all of a sudden, like a switch being ...
  • Mary
    BEHIND the GATES of GOMORRAHByStephen SeagerDr. Stephen Seager has described his life and work Behind the Gates of Gomorrah in exquisite detail. So much so that one wonders who are the real prisoners inside the confines of this Northern California Mental Institution. The patients, many of them rapists and murderers, who are controlled by the Court System, the recommendations of their doctors, and the endless minutiae of various rules and regulati...
  • Judy Churchill
    As a retired Clinical Psychologist who did her share of inpatient work, I have to say I LOVED this book. It was written with humor and great compassion. I could actually see these outrageous events taking place. It's hard to imagine some of them if you haven't worked with seriously psychotic patients. The huge issue the author addresses is the great exodus of mentally ill patients from the state hospitals. Unfortunately what sounded like a grand ...
  • Nicola
    As with so many others, I'm fascinated by the terrible, the frightful, the unthinkable. After all, isn't this why such TV as American Horror Story, True Detective, The Bridge (Danish, American and UK versions) and so many other similar stories seduce us into the dangerous but vicarious world they portray?Well, let me tell you ... this book is about someone's not-so-vicarious experience and it's all the more fascinating for that. Dr Seager's descr...
  • Suzanne
    This book certainly made me understand that being found not guilty by reason of insanity is perhaps much worse than being found guilty, if you have to go to a hospital such as the one described here. The only thing even worse seems like it would be actually working at one, where you can pretty much be killed by inmates who have impunity, without anything happening to the killers. Almost beyond belief.