The Other Dr. Gilmer: Two Men, a Murder, and an Unlikely Fight for Justice - book cover
Professionals & Academics
  • Publisher : Ballantine Books
  • Published : 01 Mar 2022
  • Pages : 304
  • ISBN-10 : 0593355164
  • ISBN-13 : 9780593355169
  • Language : English

The Other Dr. Gilmer: Two Men, a Murder, and an Unlikely Fight for Justice

A powerful true story about a shocking crime and a mysterious illness that will forever change your notions of how we punish and how we heal-an expansion on one of the most popular This American Life episodes of all time

"A remarkable medical detective story–cum–memoir, grippingly told . . . I was drawn in by every part of it."-Atul Gawande, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Being Mortal

Fresh out of medical residency, Dr. Benjamin Gilmer joined a rural North Carolina clinic only to find that its previous doctor shared his last name. Dr. Vince Gilmer was loved and respected by the community-right up until he strangled his ailing father and then returned to the clinic for a regular week of work. Vince's eventual arrest for murder shocked his patients. Could their beloved doctor be capable of such violence? The deeper Benjamin looked into Vince's case, the more he became obsessed with discovering what pushed a good man toward darkness.

When Benjamin visited Vince in prison, he met a man who appeared to be fighting his own mind, constantly twitching and veering into nonsensical tangents. Sentenced to life in prison, Vince had been branded a cold-blooded killer and a "malingerer"-a person who fakes an illness. But it was obvious to Benjamin that Vince needed help. Alongside This American Life journalist Sarah Koenig, Benjamin resolved to understand what had happened to his predecessor. Time and again, the pair came up against a prison system that cared little about the mental health of its inmates-despite more than a third of them suffering from mental illness.

The Other Dr. Gilmer takes readers on a thrilling and heart-wrenching journey through our shared human fallibility, made worse by a prison system that is failing our most vulnerable citizens. With deep compassion and an even deeper sense of justice, Dr. Benjamin Gilmer delves into the mystery of what could make a caring doctor commit a brutal murder. And in the process, his powerful story asks us to answer a profound question: In a country with the highest incarceration rates in the world, what would it look like if we prioritized healing rather than punishment?

Editorial Reviews

"A knockout debut that gripped me from the very first line . . . Benjamin Gilmer masterfully peels away the layers of a long-closed murder and drops us into an unbelievable true story of medical mystery, mental illness, and the terrifying injustices of our justice system. Meet The Other Dr. Gilmer, a man you won't soon forget."-Maureen Callahan, New York Times bestselling author of American Predator

"There are too many in prison who should be in hospitals or mental health facilities. . . . The Other Dr. Gilmer does not merely point at a broken system: it humanizes the people trapped within it. They need a physician like Dr. Gilmer to lead the way to healing."-Anthony Ray Hinton, New York Times bestselling author of The Sun Does Shine

"While this book is many things, it is, most important, very, very good. Benjamin Gilmer has written nonfiction that flows like a novel and a piece of investigative journalism full of heart and grace."-Wiley Cash, New York Times bestselling author of When the Ghosts Come Home

"The Other Dr. Gilmer is an extraordinary story of how an inheritable brain disorder destroyed two lives: a father and a son. More important, it gives a view into a criminal justice system that has destroyed many more. . . . Powerful, profound, and compelling."-James R. Doty, MD, New York Times bestselling author of Into the Magic Shop

"A complex, unlikely medical mystery and true crime story along with one man's relentless quest for justice."-Charles Frazier, New York Times bestselling author of Cold Mountain, winner of the National Book Award for Fiction

"A gripping and deeply compelling story . . . Through it all runs the heart of Dr. Benjamin Gilmer, whose relentless pursuit of diagnosis, treat...