Spectral Evidence: The Ramona Case: Incest, Memory, and Truth on Trial in Napa Valley

By Moira Johnston | Go to book overview

EPILOGUE
The Impact

I came to this book without any measurable knowledge of or attitude toward recovered memories. I knew Napa, of course -- I'd lived there, off and on, for sixteen years. I knew the Mondavi family. But I had known nothing of the Ramona case until the front-page story in the Register on the eve of the trial. I drove over to the court- room, five minutes from my home, to listen and learn. If I brought anything to Courtroom B those first days, it was an excitement over these strange memories, an eagerness to understand this extraordinary new power of the mind. Like everyone else I'd watched, fascinated, as these memories were unleashed in the Franklin murder trial to solve a twenty-year-old crime. After George Franklin's conviction in 1990, I had been intrigued enough, as a writer, to take the prosecuting attorney, Elaine Tipton, to lunch.

Something beyond her story captivated me. Simon Schama was currently arguing in his elegant books that history -- beyond the inescapable objective facts -- was given its shape and meaning in our cultural and national memories by the teller's point of view. In Dead Certainties, he showed how General Wolfe's death at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham was three very different histories -- and Wolfe three very different men -- in the hands of three storytellers: a painter, a foot soldier, a psychohistorian. Now this young prosecutor had been given a rare opportunity to reopen a page of history and bring new shape and meaning to the bloody death of little Susan Nason -- and a jury had chosen her truth.

Careers were already being built on these memories, books and TV specials written and filmed. But I wrote nothing then.

-379-

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Spectral Evidence: The Ramona Case: Incest, Memory, and Truth on Trial in Napa Valley
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Prologue the Memory Wars 1
  • A Perfect Family 11
  • 1 - A World of Women 13
  • 2 - The Birth of a Salesman 34
  • 3 - The Family Table 51
  • 4 - Flashbacks 76
  • 5 - Confrontation 96
  • Discovery 105
  • 6 - A Family Falls Apart 107
  • 7 - A Mother Knows 122
  • 8 - The Christmas Present 141
  • 9 - This Thing Called Repression 155
  • 10 - The Gathering of Evidence 172
  • 11 - The Gathering of Witnesses 189
  • 12 - The Memory Lesson 210
  • The Trial 233
  • 13 - Courtroom B 235
  • 14 - The Great Recovered Memory Debate 256
  • 15 - The Power of Suggestion 270
  • 16 - Holly's Day in Court 290
  • 17 - The T-Graph 317
  • 18 - The Debate Continues 333
  • 19 - Verdict 351
  • Epilogue the Impact 379
  • The Process 401
  • Notes 404
  • Selected Bibliography 428
  • Acknowledgments 434
  • Index 436
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