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My Brother Ron: A Personal and Social History of the Deinstitutionalization of the Mentally Ill Paperback – June 28, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Mr. Cramer's emotional energy and motivation for writing the book is derived from his brother Ron's lapse into schizophrenia, which he uses to illustrate changes in mental health paradigms (and the associated personal pain) but it is not primarily about Ron. It is about the history of the various ways, privately and governmentally, that America has dealt with mental illness from colonial times to the present.
Although Mr. Cramer's vocation is primarily software engineer, his avocation is historian, an amateur in the very best sense of the word who has also taught history at the college level. He applies the same depth of research and quality as he did in earlier efforts, which have been cited in a Supreme Court of the United States decision. This is not a dashed-off effort, it is a serious, documented, but very readable history.
At $1.49 for the Kindle version, this is more steal than deal, and well worth your time.
This was the height of the psychoanalysis influence on psychiatry. Fortunately, the chief of the service where I was working was a former analyst who realized that Freud had nothing to offer the psychotic patient. He taught me to talk to the sane part of the patient and ignore the "crazy" part. The early drugs, like chlorpromazine (Thorazine), allowed much better interaction with these chronic schizophrenics. Some of them explained what it was like to be "crazy," their preferred term. I witnessed Electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) and saw the "lucid interval" that often followed the session. The patients usually lapsed into psychosis again after a few hours but the desire was to try to prolong the effect and this led to repeat sessions.Read more ›
My Brother Ron clearly reflects the pain and futility that those that love the mentally ill go through. Within this framework he developes the history and tragedy that is the current situation. Clarity and scholarship are rarely combined as well as in this book.
A "must read" for everyone who cares about others.
There are many more questions than answers, and many myths are loose in the world. The place to begin, then, is on the firmament of solid facts, and that is where this book begins, with facts and history solidly underfoot, so at least at the end we know what we know, and have a better grasp of just what it is that we don't know or understand.
Cramer's archival prowess was developed and displayed on his previous book, and during his epic battle with celebrity historian Michael Bellesiles (which ended with Bellesiles unmasked as a fraud, his professorship at Emory given up, and his Bancroft Prize, the most prestigious in academic history writing, revoked).
I have long believed that deinstitutionalization was a classically bipartisan American screw-up. Liberals were concerned about the civil rights of the mentally ill, conservatives were disturbed by their drain upon the public fisc, and those two admirable motivations yielded the current mess, with uncared-for wretches exercising their rights to live in chaos and squalor, and to die premature and often violent deaths.
Cramer made me see that while that view works as a framework, it's the crudest of oversimplifications. The problem of the mentally ill is an extremely thorny one that does not fit well in American medicine (where's the cure?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Certainly contradicted the usual narrative on the subject. And as another family with mental illness in our history, thank you for stepping forward.Published 5 days ago by Kenton A. Hoover
You have to read this book. Twisted Public policy and what happens when . . .Published 3 months ago by Lawrence J Zollo Jr.
This is a must-read for anyone who hopes to understand that the tragedy of mental illness and its impact on individuals and families is far too over-reaching to cope with at that... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Scarlett O'Hara
I thought that closing the mental hospitals willy nilly without having the community mental health centers up and running first was monumentally stupid, as was the ACLU for pushing... Read morePublished 13 months ago by cindobindo
I didn't like the author's personal opinions/commentary in this. It's not a scholarly book, so you'll be disappointed if you're hoping for one. I couldn't finish it.Published 13 months ago by jr
Very personal and the story of love and understanding between siblings. Very well written and will be used as a resource book to share with other families who have to keep centered... Read morePublished 17 months ago by grace
Easily one of the best books I've read on the subject of De-Institutionalization. The title is backward however. Read morePublished 18 months ago by THE AUTISTIC WEREWOLF
good read. fine summation on how we have a mental illness problem more than a gun problem as the majority of recent mass shootings in the past 10 years also prove.Published 19 months ago by John Jordi
Clayton Cramer is an outstanding researcher, as he has shown in his past works. This time he turns his focus on a problem that touches us all, but directly in his case through his... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Leslie Johnson