Answers the question for professionals and patients alike: who is the person playing with your mind? Or is it your soul?

OF TWO MINDS

THE GROWING DISORDER IN AMERICAN PSYCHIATRY

A probing, nuanced look at the culture of psychiatry, with particular emphasis on the dichotomy between the drug cure and the talking cure.

Anthropologist Luhrmann (Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft, 1989) spent some time exploring an aspect of psychological anthropology that required her to examine various cultures with the psychoanalytic theories of Freud in mind. As a result, she found herself drawn to the world of psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and their patients. What she found after years of observation and immersion (she served briefly as a psychotherapist herself) were two ways of looking at mental illness. One approaches mental disorders as disturbances of the brain, biological anomalies, treatable with psychopharmaceuticals—Prozac, lithium, and the like. The other focuses on what Luhrmann calls disturbances of the mind, distortions of the personality that respond to the many, varying forms of guided exploration of the conscious and unconscious categorized as psychodynamic therapy. Psychiatrists are usually trained in both, but they are often forced to choose one approach or the other, committing themselves as brain doctors or mind doctors. Recently the two camps began to collaborate, agreeing in essence that a combination of medication and psychodynamics is most effective, but managed care put a severe cramp in that prognosis, forcing many hospitals and doctors into the drug McCure, eliminating or curtailing the now 45-minute hour. In chapters that include empathetic exploration of the stresses of medical training, careful examinations of the difficulties of diagnosis, the split between the scientist and the psychoanalyst, and the crisis of managed care, Luhrmann lays out clearly, with anecdote and case history, the ethnography that shapes a psychotherapist.

Answers the question for professionals and patients alike: who is the person playing with your mind? Or is it your soul?

Pub Date: April 10, 2000

ISBN: 0-679-42191-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2000

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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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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