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Ten Days in a Mad-House Paperback – July 7, 2011


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Ten Days in a Mad-House + The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic + Gracefully Insane: Life and Death Inside America's Premier Mental Hospital
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 146369539X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1463695392
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Nellie Bly (1864-1922) was the pen name of American journalist Elizabeth Jane Cochran, whose best-known works are Ten Days in a Mad-House and Around the World in Seventy-Two Days. A pioneer of investigative journalism, her work often focused on issues of corruption and poverty and gave voice to disenfranchised groups. She first wrote for the Pittsburgh Dispatch, where she became a foreign correspondent in Mexico, and later for Joseph Pulitzer's New York World and the New York Evening Journal, covering stories including the Pullman Railroad strike and the 1913 women's suffrage convention and profiling figures including Susan B. Anthony and anarchist Emma Goldman. Bly died of pneumonia in 1922. Laural Merlington has recorded well over one hundred audiobooks, including works by Margaret Atwood and Alice Hoffman, and is the recipient of several AudioFile Earphones Awards. An Audie Award nominee, she has also directed over one hundred audiobooks. She has performed and directed for thirty years in theaters throughout the country. In addition to her extensive theater and voice-over work, Laural teaches college in her home state of Michigan. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Very interesting read!
Fit_Mum
Great for anyone interested in New York, the late 1800s, or insane asylums.
dear reader
I decided to read this book out of pure boredom.
Crystal

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Elaine O. on April 19, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Nellie Bly, a reporter, feigned madness in order to gain admission to an asylum. It didn't take too much effort for her to be diagnosed as insane, and taken away. In the asylum, she acted normally again, but nobody seemed to notice. If she had not been a reporter, she probably would have been stuck there forever.
Her writing is clear, intelligent, humorous, and compassionate. Some of the stories of the asylum residents are heartbreaking, and the conditions sound horrendous.
I plan to read more of her writing.
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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By J. Chambers HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on February 9, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Ten Days in a Mad-House" is a fascinating exposé of an insane asylum in New York City in the late 19th century. Nellie Bly (the pen name for female journalist Elizabeth Jane Cochran), takes an assignment from the New York World newspaper to go undercover into the notorious Blackwell's Island Insane Asylum and write about it. She easily succeeds in convincing a judge and a doctor that she is insane, and a few hours later, she's become an inmate in the asylum. The conditions inside are abominable, with the female inmates being abused by the staff members, the food is inedible, and most of the inmates are freezing in the cold, drafty wards. It becomes obvious to Ms. Bly that once admitted to the hospital, few inmates will ever leave, even the ones who are perfectly sane. The hospital is simply a convenient dumping ground for misfits and others who don't fit neatly into society. Even the women who were genuinely insane received no treatment, only abuse and cruelty from the doctors and nurses on the hospital staff.

The story reminded me of Angelina Jolie's character in the movie "The Changeling," where she is sent to an insane asylum by the police to keep her from exposing their ineptitude and corruption. It's a scary, depressing time for Ms. Bly, even knowing that she will be rescued in a few days.

As a result of Ms. Bly's exposé, a grand jury required the city to invest a substantial amount of money in improving conditions on Blackwell's Island.

The Kindle edition also includes two shorter undercover articles by Nellie Bly. It's a short book that most readers will finish in a couple of hours, but it's well worth the time for an absorbing look into the state of mental health treatment in an earlier era.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Claudia Burt Green on June 14, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book tells the tale of a writer who went under cover to see how conditions were in a mental health facility. This is a good historical view of the conditions. As a member of the health profession, I enjoyed it and I give her a lot of credit for going into the situation.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Sean Rickert on October 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
The book provides an insightful perspective into the way that the mentally ill were treated during the latter part of the 19th Century. Nellie's intrusion into this world is nothing short of frightening. What shocks me the most isn't the way the patients are treated, but the ease with which a moderately sane person could find herself taken out of society and placed in a world where madness was the norm. A wonderful short read, and a must for anyone studying late 19th century society (sane or insane).
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia on November 9, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
Nellie Bly, a 20 something 19th century reporter gets herself locked in an asylum. As expected the conditions are horrible. The guards are called nurses but they're really just keepers and cruel ones at that. The food is all but inedible and, like the Woody Allen joke, such small portions. Though the weather has turned cold it's against asylum policy to turn the heat on, added to that is the practice of leaving the windows open and cold baths. Occasionally they are tied together with rope and allowed a walk where they encounter more desperately ill patients. The guards beat them for their own amusement and as a form of intimidation. The one luxury they have is an out of tune piano they're occasionally allowed to use. Even more chilling than the frigid temperature is that Nellie Bly is not the only sane inmate. Many of the patients were recent immigrants and didn't speak English, they weren't sure where they were or why they were there. Once Nellie staged craziness to get admitted to the ward she was her normal self but doctor after doctor declared her nuts! She was one of the lucky ones though because she had friends on the outside who came to rescue her. When Nellie returned with a contingent of officials she hoped would help improve conditions most of her friends had disappeared or were dead or had become mentally damaged. Bly's writing is straight forward and strictly informational but her account is interesting.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Crystal on June 14, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I decided to read this book out of pure boredom. I became so engrossed I could not stop until I was finished. This was such an amazing story that I have suggested it to all my friends and family.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lark Spring on July 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I simply can't resist adding my voice to all the other positive reviews of this ebook.

This is the Kindle edition of a book that first came out in 1887, a compilation of newspaper articles by an American reporter using the name of Nellie Bly. She arranged to have herself admitted involuntarily to the worst lunatic asylum in New York to find out what conditions were like and, if anything, got more than she bargained for. Her account of her ten days incarcerated with both the insane and those mistakenly deemed to be insane is no less harrowing now than it was at the time of her investigation.

However, the result of the author's exposé was to have conditions in the asylum (and mental care in New York and elsewhere in general) greatly changed through the new attitudes and increased funding that followed her evidence to a grand jury set up expressly for the purpose of hearing this. For example, following the newspaper reports several of the 'nurses' who were harshest to the unfortunate inmates were dismissed. Because of the power of her reportage, the fame of Nellie Bly (real name Elizabeth Cochrane) has justly lasted into the 21st century.

The book is very well written without being overly long, and is supplemented by a couple of shorter reports, one on the workings of the employment agencies of the time and another more heartening one about the work of girls in a box-making factory. Here, among the poorest of the poor, the intrepid reporter found much of the sympathy and kindness that was absent in the mad-house, and the reader as a consequence finds her own faith in humanity somewhat renewed.

This is a report that I am glad I did not miss, despite the emotions roused in me by the details it contains.
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