Going beyond the rhetoric, the underpinnings of which are, in any case, roundly challenged, it provides a meaty theoretical perspective. At the same time it gives insights on specific practise issues: substance abuse, healthcare complaints and advocacy, as well as those dying from or bereaved by AIDS.
This book comes at an opportune time. There is a clear exposition of its themes and the chapters on Victim Mediation and Cross Cultural Mediation are of particular interest. There is a very extensive and useful bibliography which is an added attraction to the book. If the purpose of books is to spread and encourage ideas and debate, then this book does those very things. Finally, this book is encouraging and uplifting, not only for the information contained therein but because so much of the practice is based on social work literature. That should be encouragement to social workers.
This book claims to be "the first study to compare advocacy, counselling and mediation as social processes of empowerment" and in that respect it generally succeeds. As might be expected from a collection of papers presented by a large number of authors from different backgrounds (e.g. social work, law, counselling, health, psychotherapy, higher education and the church), Part II is a very mixed bag, which is its strength... In general, this book is a useful addition to the literature. It is well researched and full of up to date, useful and relevant references (most of the chapters also include lists of useful addresses and suggestions for further reading). Part II is a mine of useful information, and some of the chapters... stand out for their straightforward and delicate touch. On the whole, this is a worthwhile book that is excellent to dip into and reflect upon. It is a useful resource for case worker and student alike and provides a valuable starting point for further academic enquiry.