A HISTORY OF PSYCHIATRY

FROM THE ERA OF THE ASYLUM TO THE AGE OF PROZAC

An opinionated, anecdote-rich history of a branch of medicine strongly shaped by culture. Canadian physician and medical historian Shorter (Univ. of Toronto) begins his lively account by describing the horrific treatment of the mentally ill before the advent of the custodial asylum. It was, he says, the discovery that asylums could have a therapeutic role that led to the birth of psychiatry at the end of the 18th century. Shorter examines the failure of the therapeutic asylum movement, attributing it largely to an overwhelming number of inmates in the 19th century. Always divided by two visions of mental illness, one finding its origins in the biology of the brain and the other looking to psychosocial factors, psychiatry was dominated by the biological view throughout the 19th century. Shorter presents the German physician Emil Kraepelin, who revolutionized the approach to categorizing and diagnosing mental illnesses, as the central figure in ending the sway of biological psychiatry. As for Freud, says Shorter, ``His doctrine of psychoanalysis, based on intuitive leaps of fantasy, did not stand the test of time.'' Citing studies indicating that the majority of American psychoanalysts and their patients were Jewish, the author links the growing social assimilation of Jews (and their abandonment of their ``encapsulated little subculture'') with the post-'60s decline in popularity of psychoanalysis—a theory sure to arouse controversy. Shorter chronicles the discovery of the various drugs that formed the pharmacological basis of the new biological psychiatry and hails the alliance of psychiatrists with geneticists, biochemists, and other scientists that has brought the scientific method to the investigation of mental illness. Where does psychiatry go from here? Shorter predicts a combination of the neuroscientific and the psychotherapeutic, that is, a blend of ``neurochem'' and ``neurochat.'' While psychiatrists may quibble and Freudians and other psychoanalysts will surely squawk, those without a vested interest will be thoroughly entertained and certainly enlightened.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 1997

ISBN: 0-471-15749-X

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1996

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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