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Reality police: The experience of insanity in America Hardcover – January 1, 1975


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Morrow (1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688029256
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688029258
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.8 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,072,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born and raised in Westfield, New Jersey, went to Princeton and Columbia for undergraduate and advanced degrees, worked for aviation pioneer Sherman Fairchild as his personal historian. When he died in 1972 became a free-lance writer. First book, REALITY POLICE, was a muckraking look at the mental health system. Subsequently went into magazine journalism, wrote for ESQUIRE, AMERICAN HERITAGE, THE ATLANTIC, CONNOISSEUR, PSYCHOLOGY TODAY, GQ, MEN'S JOURNAL, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ADVENTURE, and many other magazines. Was the essays editor of the Pushcart Prize for eighteen years. In 2002 served as a non-fiction judge for the National Book Awards. Edited the Adventure Classics series for National Geographic Books, which included an edition of the JOURNALS OF LEWIS AND CLARK and 24 other books, including THOMAS JEFFERSON TRAVELS, a selection of Jefferson's writings while he was U. S. minister to France. THE MAN WHO ATE HIS BOOTS is his first book for Knopf.

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_Reality Police: The Experience of Insanity in America_, published in 1975 by author Anthony Brandt is an interesting study of the concept of insanity and the experience of the insane in the United States. Though dated this book offers an important study of the experience of insanity, questioning notions of reality, and discussing in detail the situation for those deemed "mentally ill" and the nature of mental hospitals and the rise of what is known as the therapeutic state. The author in particular focuses on several of the notorious abuses of the mental health system, noting the often authoritarian and hierarchical role of the system and the relationship between psychiatrists and the state, and offers several alternatives as a means to reform the system. While Brandt maintains that his book is not meant to be anti-psychiatry, he nonetheless exposes some of the more glaring inconsistencies in the notion of mental illness and the abuses of power by the psychiatrist. Brandt, who had himself committed as part of an experiment to write this book, often takes a cynical attitude towards the entire mental health system, regarding it as largely de-humanizing and notes some of the barbarities inflicted on people judged to be mentally ill by this system. Brandt also argues that psychiatrists have increasingly gained in power and are frequently capable of infringing upon the liberties of ordinary citizens for various obscure reasons which may have little to do with actual mental health, the well-being of these people or others, or even possible dangerousness to society. Brandt questions notions of mental illness and explains how frequently one judged as "crazy" is judged so by their peers, their family and society, before being judged so by mental health professionals.Read more ›
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