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Golden Cage: The Enigma of Anorexia Nervosa Mass Market Paperback – March 12, 1979


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Editorial Reviews

Review

The story of the disorder itself is beautifully written, presented with a deftness, lightness, and accuracy that make the reader yearn to turn the page, to watch the unfolding of this very enigmatic disorder. This is the single most important professionally written book for laypersons and parents. (Shervert H. Frazier, M.D., McLean Hospital)

The Golden Cage is eminently readable and generously spiced with vivid illustrations from Bruch's own clinical case material. Her discussion of and generalization from this material are wonderfully astute. (Contemporary Psychology)

The chief symptom is shocking: self-starvation leading to a devastating weight loss. The treatment is difficult, the cure elusive, and facts about the disease are not well known. Yet anorexia nervosa, an illness that was once quite rare, now afflicts increasing numbers of adolescents.

In The Golden Cage, a renowned psychiatrist-recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on anorexia nervosa-relates her experience and discoveries in dealing with this baffling disorder. It is not, as the name implies, simply a loss of appetite. Rather, it involves a relentless pursuit of excessive thinness, undertaken despite continual hunger, acute pain, and occasionally fatal consequences. Dr. Bruch uses numerous examples from her own case studies to give a vivid picture of the causes, effects, and possible treatment of the disease. Her main concern: how can the symptoms be detected before they become entrenched as anorexia?

The victims of anorexia are mostly adolescent and preadolescent girls who have otherwise been model children from "good homes." Often they feel trapped by unattainable goals and expectations-a golden cage of privilege where they feel they do not belong and cannot survive. Dr. Bruch's experience has convinced her that early diagnosis is essential to any treatment of anorexia, and her book is addressed "to physicians, teachers, school counselors, and parents-to all who are in a position of observing these youngsters before a chronic and often irreversible state develops."

Hilde Bruch is Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and is the author of numerous articles and books, including Eating Disorders. Her latest book, Learning Psychotherapy: Rationale and Ground Rules, was published by Harvard University Press.



An extraordinary achievement...Bruch wrote with clarity, insight and compassion of her cases during the anorexia outbreak of the early '70s, an epidemic that seemed to arise out of nowhere, with no official diagnosis. (Holly Brubach New York Times Style Magazine 2007-05-01) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

One of the world's leading authorities offers a vivid and moving account of the causes, effects, and treatment of this devastating disease.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (March 12, 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039472688X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394726885
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,404,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey R. Fischman on July 5, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A remarkable description of the basic personality and family mechanisms involved in teenage mental disorders and their anorectic expression.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. McGill on September 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book was extremely informative about the underlying causes of eating disorders. It gave me a better understanding for how they can develop in the home, how parental pressures at a young age can have a huge influence, and also supports the fact that you don't have to have a tragic up bringing to be subject to an eating disorder.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By medicine woman on November 30, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
empathic portrayal of anorexia nervosa by a pioneer in the field; it has human descriptives of everything characterized scientifically in textbooks and journals.
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Format: Paperback
When all is said and done, 'The Golden Cage' (1978) is probably the most significant popular book on eating disorders ever written. Prior to it's publication, all sort's of various and strange explanations were offered up to explain EDs, but it wasn't until Hildie Bruch published this pioneering work that our modern understanding of EDs began to unfold.

Burch is an impressive individual herself ; one of the few members of her family to escape the Nazis and make it to the United States. A pediatrician, and later a professor who lived to publish several books on EDs. After her death, her life was summarized in the biography 'Unlocking the Golden Cage' (1996).

Oddly, her conclusions about EDs have recently become somewhat of a political football, as modern fashion now turns toward describing everything in terms of genetics, and old-school psychology comes increasingly under fire as "soft science". Commercial treatment programs find it convenient to openly reject her findings as well : How can they ask parents to pay huge sums for treatment, while subscribing to a theory that may implicate those very same parents in their development ?

None the less, anyone who's had EDs themselves will recognize many of her conclusions as resonant and truthful.

Theory naturally blows back and forth with the times, but years from now Bruch will still be honored as the first professional to unlock the emotional secrets of eating disorders.

Historically relevant and relevant today, and highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
I was looking to find the personality behind anorexia before I recognized that my 7-year-old niece was well on her way in terms of personality. (If the anoretic in a large family is known as the snitch, no-one would recognize that in the usual small family.) I've read any number of books about anorexia, but none more sympathetic from an outsiders view. Unfortunately, most books on the subject are written by anoretics. It's a stretch to believe that they can be objective about their own condition. But they have lived it. There are never solid comments such as "no sense of humor" or having a "tiny little voice". These are physical manifestations that can be easily recognized. I think that's important.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Such a fantastic book! I recommend to anybody who is doing research on or treatment of those with eating disorders. Brunch is incredibly eloquent and considerate of her patients and families.
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