Richard Webster (British author)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Richard Webster (17 December 1950 – 24 June 2011) was a British cultural historian, the author of five published books, dealing with subjects such as the controversy over Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses, Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis, and the investigation of sexual abuse in Britain. Born in Newington, Kent, Webster studied English literature at the University of East Anglia and lived in Oxford, England. He became interested in the problem of false allegations partly due to reading the work of Norman Cohn. Webster's A Brief History of Blasphemy tries to understand the Muslim response to The Satanic Verses and argues against unrestricted freedom of speech. The book was praised by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Webster may be best remembered for his subsequent book Why Freud Was Wrong, which argues that Freud became a kind of Messiah and that psychoanalysis is a disguised continuation of the Judaeo-Christian tradition. His The Secret of Bryn Estyn: The Making of a Modern Witch Hunt, which tells the story of a care home for adolescent boys that became the focus of press revelations and a police investigation for child abuse that spread across a number of residential homes in North Wales, was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize.


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