Modern psychiatry is not a unified field,"" these authors admit, and their overview--an educative tool mainly for relatives of the mentally ill--is, like the field itself, both very specific and very vague. Throughout, they confront head-on those cloudy areas in diagnosis and treatment in which theories and practices seem to conflict or overlap. In the matter of schizophrenia, for example, ""the wider the concept. . . the more disagreement and the less certainty about causes, treatment and outcome."" However, after a brief but generally firm rundown of major diagnostic schools and the key methods of psychiatric, behavioral, and somatic therapies, the authors do stress that ""various psychotherapies sound a good deal more different than they are. . . there is surprisingly. . . very much less difference in what [variously trained practitioners] actually do."" Part II is concerned with the painful, often frustrating search for adequate private and public-supported care. There is a hard look at therapists (what to watch for, how to communicate, what to demand) and the difficult day-by-day living with the mentally ill at home. Sections on hospitals, relevant laws, financial matters, special problems of children and the elderly again offer a wealth of leads but no easy answers or assurance that the average American community can offer really adequate facilities, let alone understanding. Despite some questionable aspects (a tempered approval of shock therapy, some lacunae in the bibliography), this is a persistent, exhaustive enumeration of the needs of the mentally ill and how they are being met--or not met.