Mark Pendergrast: The Most Hated Man in America

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— Lynne Lamberg, Advance Copy

Most Hated Man cover

Most Hated Man cover


Mark Pendergrast
Sunbury Press, November 15, 2017, $19.95
ISBN-10: 162006765X; ISBN-13: 978-1620067659

Pendergrast reports:

Everyone knows the story of Jerry Sandusky, the serial pedophile, the Monster. But what if that story is wrong? What if the former Penn State football coach and founder of the Second Mile is an innocent man convicted in the midst of a moral panic fed by the sensationalistic media, police trawling, and memory-warping psychotherapy?

Despite my being a relatively well-known, well-reviewed nonfiction author, I could not secure a contract for a book raising these questions from a major publisher or academic press. Why? Because the case is so toxic that no one would touch it.

I finally found Sunbury, a small Pennsylvania press, which was brave enough to publish it. The book is a kind of sister publication to Memory Warp: How the Myth of Repressed Memory Arose and Refuses to Die.

Mark Pendergrast, photo by Betty Molnar

Mark Pendergrast, photo by Betty Molnar

The background: In 2013, I got an email out of the blue from Glenna Kerker, an Oregon woman, asking me to look into the Sandusky case because it involved repressed memory therapy, about which I have written. I had heard about Mike McQueary, the eyewitness who supposedly saw Sandusky sodomizing a boy in a Penn State shower, so I assumed Sandusky was guilty. But when I looked into the case, I found that McQueary had not witnessed anything but had only heard slapping sounds. And the case was indeed replete with repressed memory and other issues.

I became fascinated and could not stop researching it, even though I was under contract for another book at the time. I ended up visiting Sandusky twice in prison and interviewing dozens of people, including all of his children, an alleged victim, lawyers, Sandusky acquaintances, and others.

The result is this hefty book, which I fear may make me “the most hated writer in America” for many people who think they know about the case and have accepted the standard abuse narrative. My mantra for this book will be RTB: Read the Book. Then form your own conclusions.

Contact info:

Mark Pendergrast, 802-497-1570, 802-310-9246 (cell),,
Publisher: Lawrence Knorr, 855-338-8359,

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Dec. 6, 2017


Why is this featured on "Advance Copy?" I'm very uncomfortable with NASW promoting a book like this.

llamberg's picture

Hi Madeline:

We considered the controversial nature of Mark’s topic prior to including his report in Advance Copy, which offers NASW members the opportunity to describe their books’ contents and development. Publication of NASW members’ reports in Advance Copy does not indicate NASW’s endorsement of their books. Not publishing a member’s report, however, would be an act of censorship antithetical to NASW’s mission.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I hope they will foster further discussion.

Lynne Lamberg
NASW Book Editor

The theory advanced in this book was aired fully in court. Professor Loftus testified in detail in a post-conviction hearing, where teh judge subsequently ruled that her opinion -- the core argument of this book -- was based on "an uncritical review of an absurdly incomplete record carefully dissected to inlcude only pieces of information tending to support Sandusky's represed memory hearing." That opinion, as the judge put it, was "entirely ineffective." It is no wonder that someone making such claims could not find a mainstream publisher. 


Science writers presumably write about things in a disinterested fashion. Mark Pendegrast, however, is not disinterested in this topic. He indicates in the essay above that this was a topic about which he had already written. What he does not indicate are the personal reasons that any skeptical reader might want to know about. Those were laid out by Anne Rochell in an article in the Atlanta Journal & Constitution (Decmber 11, 1994). Ms. Rochelle writes that "'Victims of Memory' is Pendergrast's 600-page atempt to exorcise the demons that took awy his daughters. Some people will see the book as a father's ultimate act of love. Others will see it as a guilty man's obsessive attempt to clear his name." Shouldn't readers have the opportunity to know about and evaluate the second interpretation? Indeed, might that interpretation help explain why someone would reach conclusions about a case with dozens of victims, after talking to only one of them? 

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