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Summary

Friday, 12th February, 1993. Two outwardly unremarkable 10-year-old boys began the day by playing truant and ended it running an errand for the local video shop. In between they abducted and killed a two-year-old boy, James Bulger. In search of an explanation, award-winning journalist David James Smith looks behind the misinformation, misunderstanding and sensational reporting to an exact account of the events of that day. 

A sensitive and definitive account, The Sleep of Reason achieves a unique understanding of the James Bulger case, and comes as close as may ever be possible to explaining how two 10-year-olds could kill.

©2017 David James Smith (P)2020 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about The Sleep of Reason

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Heartbreaking

Great book, hard not to become emotional listening to it. Will now move on to the book written by James Bulgers mum ‘I let him go’

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Extraordinary

I grew up with this case being a major headline and very close to home. I thought I'd known it quite well... but The Sleep of Reason is so thoroughly researched and the accounts of what happened are so incredibly written that my understanding of the horrific crime and the young lads behind it have been turned on its head. The author is sensitive to all parties involved and although Smith does divulge some of the disturbing acts, it is never done so to shock or to revel in it. The performance too was outstanding, great accents and some genuinely heart-breaking moments. It's a heavy read, but a must for true crime fans. 9.2/10

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Gruesome

I thought I knew about the Bulger case until Iheard this audio book. Some really gruesome and upsetting details but an overall respectful analysis. My one criticism of the narration is that, at times, the narrator uses a bouncy, chirpy manner of speaking that you might hear reading a child's story book while describing awful facts. The outcome in the last chapter shows just how the deterioration of family life can damage a child.

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a history of the strand.

far too much emphasis on the strand shopping centre history. I wanted to learn about the James Bulger case not details about which kind of building materials were used for the strand. full of irrelevant details.

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So many irrelevant pointless comments..

This is pointless in parts... Bobbie, Robert. Bobbie Robert. If you enjoy it and understand it then fair play.

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Profile Image for Lanette Russo
  • Lanette Russo
  • 22-07-20

Read "I Let Him Go" after reading this!

Before I say anything else, make sure you read "I Let Him Go" (a 5 star book in my opinion) by James Bulger's mother. There is no way anyone can tell me those monsters killed this poor little boy because they had bad child hoods, bad parents, suffered through poverty & it is society's fault. The word sociopath should have been used in this book. I have known people & read books about people who have had horrible childhoods that are hard to even believe are true. None of them ever even thought about harming.another person, let alone killing someone. As I'm re-listening to James's mother's book right now, I have to change my review from 4 stars to 3 stars for THIS book. I found it offensive that this author & his lefty liberal view is trying to blame society & the poor unfortunate childhood they had. There is NO excuse for what happened. If the only reason they committed this heinous crime really was because of their poor upbringing, then how about people choosing to not have kids if you can't raise them right or can't afford them? There is a mental sickness in these 2 little evil boys, plain & simple. The bad childhoods & bad parents didn't help, for sure...but this can not be the main reason these kids did what they did.

6 people found this helpful