WHOM THE GODS DESTROY by John Neary

WHOM THE GODS DESTROY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Whom the Gods destroy, they first make mad,"" and this account of two minds that found themselves is the story of the man we come to know as Jack McCabe (Neary's book is based on his papers) and much later of an older uncle Ken who made a similar trip ""to the other side of the mirror."" Jack McCabe, a magazine bureau chief in Chicago, drank 100 proof bourbon and swallowed pills and in time began to feel tailed and taped in a world which was just a ""game of hustle and con."" Before long he woke up in Cook County Hospital on a new diet of ""Thorazine. . . Thoroughzene"" before his transfer to the Illinois State Psychiatric Institute and his release. At this point he realized the existence of an uncle Ken, shuttered in silence for some thirty years; five mental hospitals and after 24 (later 22?) electroshock treatments the older man was released and Jack decided to find out just what happened to Ken in 1939. Actually it was a spell of schizophrenia, then called dementia praecox, following his mother's death which led to thirty years of unnecessary isolation and entropy. Sitting, waiting, sitting. . . . Neary permits the story to speak for itself--to speak for psychiatry then and now--to speak for a life left to default and indifference and neglect. Tacit compassion should enlist many readers who ordinarily shy away from the ruder realities of the attic or the snakepit.

Pub Date: Nov. 25th, 1975
Publisher: Atheneum