• The Other Dr. Gilmer

  • Two Men, a Murder, and an Unlikely Fight for Justice
  • By: Benjamin Gilmer
  • Narrated by: Benjamin Gilmer
  • Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (129 ratings)

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The Other Dr. Gilmer

By: Benjamin Gilmer
Narrated by: Benjamin Gilmer
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Publisher's Summary

A “mesmerizing” (The New York Times Book Review) 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. How 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 listeners on a riveting 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?

©2021 Benjamin Gilmer (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Mesmerizing . . . a wrenching, maddening, compelling book.”The New York Times Book Review

“Fans of both true-crime podcasts and medical mysteries are in for a treat. . . . The search for answers sends [Benjamin Gilmer] on a years-long crusade through the legal and prison systems, where medical compassion can be hard to come by.”The Washington Post

“A remarkable true-crime account . . . The story makes a fascinating real-life mystery, but The Other Dr. Gilmer is more than that. Benjamin Gilmer argues that, as asylums have closed and mental health centers have seen budgets slashed, the criminal justice system has become a holding pen for many of the nation’s mentally ill. . . . [He] calls for humane reforms to ease the system and perhaps to prevent crimes in the first place.”—Wilmington Star-News

What listeners say about The Other Dr. Gilmer

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  • Overall
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Compelling must read—mental health, prison, doing good!

must read for anyone interested in mental illness and prison life, challenges of access to health care for the rural poor, the struggles of parenting and marriage for good, decent folk, the tragedy of a degenerative disease, long lasting effects of child abuse, and a well- told true story. The author experienced a life-changing coincidence. His writing and voice narration are excellent. This is a story that inspires and offers h

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Captivating story

I knew the story from This American Life but there was so much more here. An inspirational and painful book. A must read if you are in medicine.

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Love endures all things

Thank you for writing and narrating this audiobook! This incredible story needed to be told. I am happy your wife encouraged you to write the book, because I believe more than anyone else, you were in the best position to tell the story. Why? Your compassion, patience and kindness as a person & friend. Your experience and knowledge as a doctor. Combine all of that with your advocacy, perseverance and commitment on behalf of Dr. Vince Gilmer, and by extension others suffering from mental illness, cruelty & injustice. Many thanks also to all who contributed to this valiant team effort! Love is patient. Love is kind. Love hopes all things. Love believes all things. Love endures all things.

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Compelling Story Turned Tedious

I wished I liked this book more. The story is compelling and educational in regard to mentally ill people in prison. The young Dr. Gilmer is undoubtedly a very good, very caring person. However, the book drags on and on, repeating the author's philosophy so many times I found myself thinking, yes, yes, but get to the outcome of your tireless work. Just when it seemed the book might move along, I was subjected to another long description of how much we need to change our criminal justice system. I realize that's the point of the book, but I wanted to hear more about what happened to Vince and less about how hard working and persistent the team was in its efforts to free him. A good editor could have really improved this book.

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incredibly well written & read by the author. was

incredibly well written & read by the author.very happy for the update at the end!

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I had no idea how impactful this would be

This is an in-depth narrative that fleshes out a story that was first heard in 2013 on NPR's This American Life radio program. I wondered if it would be worth a credit when I had already listened to that program. It was. Well told, wonderfully narrated by the author. This is a memorable story.

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This is a very powerful book.

Honestly, this story was not what I expected. This turned out to be much more eye opening and important than a "true crime" book. Thank you.

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Sit down. This isn’t good, it is outstanding

Dr Gilmer’s book has moved me to contemplate truth, justice, our vulnerable selves and our vulnerable fellow man. Using the only tool ultimately available to him, his book is proof: the pen is mightier than the sword. Well done, Dr Gilmer. You have skillfully told the other Dr Gilmer’s very complicated story with clarity and compassion. You have also told the story of the modern clinician. Thank you. Outstanding.

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Amazing true story of perseverance

A truly compelling story. As suspenseful as any fiction mystery. It will not disappoint you.

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Sad, worse that it is very unlikely to change

An important story to hear or read. I worked as a volunteer in the Prison system in Texas for 12 years. I worked very directly with inmates. all had different stories and reasons for why their lives led to incarceration. Amazingly, I met many that I knew as very young children. one, I held in my arms when she was first born. I "randomly" met these, I had no idea any of them were there. A lot of tears...
I was able to help many return to very, even wonderful productive lives.
one thing stood out: the pricing was doing absolutely nothing to rehabilitation. Getting a GED is helpful, but not rehabilitation.
I see no hope for these people except for the efforts of volunteers without an agenda. My service was part of a Christian Ministry, but thete eas no requirementto join a religionor get baptized. We were there to help and let each individual make thier own choices. But most of the "Ministers" I saw working had an agenda. They did way much more harm than good by teaching things out of their own minds rather that the Bible. Several inmates had their hopes brought up so unreasonably high by these "ministers" that when the expectation failed, they committed or tried to commit suicide.
It is amazing that the USA spends so many billions to prosecute and house inmates, instead of using that same money or less, to actually help them.