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Masters of the Mind: Exploring the Story of Mental Illness from Ancient Times to the New Millennium Hardcover – August 6, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0471469858 ISBN-10: 0471469858 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (August 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471469858
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471469858
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #522,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From The New England Journal of Medicine

This book is a comprehensive survey of theories about the workings of our minds. Theodore Millon, a well-respected psychologist and prolific writer, has divided his enterprise into seven kinds of "stories": philosophical, humanitarian, neuroscientific, psychoanalytic, psychoscientific, sociocultural, and "personologic." He covers the history of each subject area, often beginning with ancient Greece or Egypt, and writes with an encyclopedic knowledge of all subsequent time periods. These histories are followed by his commentary and reflections. A striking feature of the book, as suggested by the title, is the inclusion of capsule biographies of the many people who have contributed to this field. Nearly 90 portraits, drawn by Millon or his daughter, accompany the biographies. Millon knows many contemporary experts in psychology, and his descriptions of most of them are often personal and highly complimentary. These descriptions, along with the portraits, make the book pleasant and accessible. Millon's steadily cheerful tone is tempered by his gloom in the last few pages, which concern the post-9/11 world. Millon's professional interests lie in the area of the taxonomy of personality disorders, and studies of personality take up a fair amount of this book. He also describes multiple schools of psychotherapy. Readers with a medical background may be disappointed that there is relatively little information about the disorders of the mind that occupy so much clinical time, such as substance abuse and dementia. Perhaps this lack reflects the relative youth of these fields. Readers familiar with the fields covered in this survey will not find anything particularly controversial or provocative. The breadth of the book does not allow Millon to go into detail on any topic, and he is too generous and appreciative a scholar to stir up controversy by deriding anyone's theories. His division of the subject into seven rather arbitrarily defined areas and his historical coverage of each topic mean that there is a certain amount of repetition. Who are the "masters of the mind"? At the risk of being invidious, but to help clarify the scope of this book and Millon's interests, here is a rough count of who merits the most pages or references in the index: Sigmund Freud is far ahead of the pack; following him, in chronological order, are Hippocrates, Philippe Pinel, Charles Darwin, Ivan Pavlov, Emil Kraepelin, Alfred Adler, Carl Jung, and Carl Rogers. Are we making much progress in understanding ourselves? What determines our behavior -- genetics, learning, or experience? How do these various factors interact? People interested in a warm and remarkably well informed historical discussion of these questions will enjoy this book. Frances R. Frankenburg, M.D.
Copyright © 2005 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved. The New England Journal of Medicine is a registered trademark of the MMS.


A magnificent work from an author who is, himself, a master of the mind. — Raymond D. Fowler, Ph.D. (Past President and former CEO of the American Psychological Association)

Sweeping in scope and truly impressive in its scholarship, Millon’s text traces historical developments and identifies the thinkers and scientists who from antiquity to the present time have shaped contemporary understanding of how the mind works. This captivating and informative volume will be appreciated and valued by all readers interested in the history of ideas. —Irving B. Weiner, Ph.D. (University of South Florida)

Wide ranging, cohesive and imminently readable, Theodore Millon’s Masters of the Mind is a tour de force from one of the world’s leading psychologists....a major touchstone for all those interested in these fascinating stories of mental disorders and the search for systems to understand and treat [them]. —Jeffrey J. Magnavita, Ph.D. (Connecticut Center for Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy)

A fascinating, informative, comprehensive, broad-minded, brilliant and perceptive tour of the universe of views of mental function and dysfunction, this book helps the reader understand contributions from nearly every conceivably relevant discipline throughout history. Himself, a long time advocate and practitioner of creative and integrative theory supported by data (as well as measurement techniques designed to generate such data), Millon provides enlightening commentary at the end of each chapter as well as in an epilogue at the end of the book. After reviewing a breathtaking array of perspectives, he offers a simple but profound suggestion for how to put it together. "Intrinsic unity cannot be invented.. by arbitrary efforts to synthesize disparate and disjunctive theoretical schemas... The natural sythesis.. inheres within patients themselves." In this wisdom, he urges all of us - clinicians, theorists and researchers alike – to stay close to the data offered !by real persons- whole human beings seen in the broad array of contexts marked by Millon in this amazing and wonderful book I shall ask that all of my trainees read and re-read it, whether they are still in professional schools, or returning for continuing education. — Lorna Smith Benjamin, Ph.D.(University of Utah)

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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Doctor Robert on August 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are a true lifelong student of psychology and the mind, you have got to read this book. It truly is the most comprehensive, interesting, and honest history of clinical psychology available today.

Among the best features of the book is its honest and inspiring look at the multiple perspectives which abound in today's psychology and how they can be traced to ancient times. The ancient/sacred, neuroscience, psychoanalytic, cognitive, behavioral, gestalt, humanistic and socio-cultural perspectives are all traced and detailed. Millon avoids disparaging each perspective. Instead, he shares the strengths and weaknesses in the words and actions of the scientists and philosophers whose works represent the critical thoughts in each area.

While it is difficult to read more than one chapter at a time (it is that comprehensive and detailed), a chapter a day will certainly make for an excellent review of psychology for a good two weeks. In fact, the last two weeks have been remarkably educational. (I decided to read this book during a two week break from graduate classes).

For each perspective, Millon follows a three stage process of detailing its hisory. First, he offers a summary and review of the major historical movements within the perspective. Then, a detailed history (person by person, country by country) is proffered. Finally, Millon offers his own unique and insightful commentary. Millon and his daughter's own artwork (portraits of key scientists and philosophers) provide helpful context. In addition, each scientist's contributions are shared in concert with a brief biography. Finally, in those cases where Millon actually met or worked with one of the psychologists, he shares his own observations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dawn B. on October 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of my favorite books. I typically write about psych topics for college, so it has become an invaluable part of my growing collection. This book is fascinating, informative, comprehensive--a truly magnificent work. I would love to see a newer edition to include the past decade.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a significant contribution to the field of psychology. The skillful weaving together of so many diverse, conflicting, but interdependent views is a daunting task that I think is well executed. However - when Millon discusses Millon in the third person, there is something quite peculiar going on. Then, in the section on Marsha Linehan, when Millon, for no logical reason that I can deduce, continues his commentary on Millon . . . You don't need to be a psychologist to appreciate the foible on display for all to see, but it helps. It also makes me feel much better about my own foibles.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Old_doc on November 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is a great book to follow the time line of thoughts about Mental Illness. It is a great book for academics/ researchers in the field. It is not an easy reading, but all in all it is a "must have" for people in the mental health field and also interested in history.
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