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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: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,615 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 Cochrane. She remains notable for two feats: a record-breaking trip around the world in emulation of Jules Verne's character Phileas Fogg, and an exposé in which she faked insanity to study a mental institution from within. In addition to her writing, she was also an industrialist and charity worker. She originally intended for her pseudonym to be "Nelly Bly," but her editor wrote "Nellie" by mistake, and the error stuck. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Very interesting read.
Skidoowoman
I received the book in a timely manner and was happy with the product.
Arlene F Oettgen
Not many statistics to back up the story.
Rosebud42

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Spaz on February 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
I read this in just a few days but the story will be with me forever. I have an interest in mental health and this book is a snapshot of time when mental health wasn't really understood. Nellie Bly went undercover and sought out the truth of what was happening to mental patients at institutions during a time when it was common to send women away for just about anything. The story turns truly horrifying when she arrives at the island. Her determinitation and bravery began a serious look at the treatment of the patients and had outcomes that would be sure that the patients would be treated with dignity and respect.
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23 of 26 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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sondra McClendon on April 21, 2014
Format: Paperback
Ten Days in a Mad-House is the true account of female journalist Nellie Bly as she took on an undercover assignment investigating the inner working of a mental institution in New York in 1887. The fact that Bly took the risk of getting herself committed, knowing that conditions would be grim, says a lot about her bravery and dedication to journalistic integrity.

Over the counrse of ten days, Bly (who expressed surprised at how easily she was pronounced insane) experienced the poor conditions of Blackwell's Island alongside her fellow inmates. She soon found that with inedible food, no heat, filthy water, abusive "nurses", and total seclusion it was no wonder the women had gone insane. Bly viewed them with sympathy and felt that many of them were not, in fact, "crazy", but depressed, sick, or victimized.

Bly was soon released and shared her finding in The York World. Her time at Blackwell's Island provided fascinating and disturbing insight into the treatment of mentally ill patients and did result in reform.

You might think that a book about mental illness and a corrupt system would be hard to get through, but it is a surprisingly quick read. Bly has a very engaging style of writing and the first-person descriptions are engrossing. She was something of an anomaly in her time, but her risks paid off for the future of the mental health field.

Bly had this to say when approached by her editor with the idea of going under cover. "I said I would and I could. And I did." Yes she did. Most of us would not have done the same. A great read for those who enjoy investigative journalism or who are interested in learning more about 19th century asylums. To the latter, I must also recommend Seeing the Insane by Sander Gilman.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Venus Pandora on August 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
I downloaded an audio version of this book. I like the concept that she purposefully went to a Mad House. Her details are amazing. I work in a mental hospital and I reflected on the similarities and differences of the experiences. I'm glad that through this writing, things changed for this and other hospitals at the time. It was worth listening to.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By MW on September 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I must state that after reading the first chapter, and throughout the remainder of the 95 pages, I do not think this booklet is the original text or the genuine reading. I have read texts written during the 1800's period, and the sentence structure and vocabulary are vastly different from the language and writing of today. The so-called author of this particular book I received writes in seemingly authentic language of this period for the first few pages in the first chapter, then the author proceeds to write in sentence structure and vocabulary very much of today - including informal slang! I picked up on this immediately; I then investigated the publishing, editing, and copy write information that is supposed to be printed in the initial pages of the book. There was NO information provided for copy write, publishing, or editorial profile at all. I was discouraged at this fact. I have accessed websites of the New York Public library, and public libraries in Los Angeles, and Boston, and I did see copies of the original book with all the profile information provided. I have a foreboding of fraud that this little booklet that I have purchased is not the original. This is discouraging!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ann Kerlin on February 14, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a great book and took a lot of guts to write. Very frightening how she and others were treated. Some parts I felt so helpless and tearful reading. I don't think many of us could do and endure and come out as well as she did, then write about it. Amazing soul she had. Gregg and Matt, glad you brought this out in the open for us to read. Thank you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By candy on October 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very good but I did find it a bit upsetting. It was interesting. I hope there are no places like this around anymore.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kandice S Wallace on July 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nellie Bly goes undercover in the late 1800's to expose the Blackwell Asylum for women. It is easy to fake being mentally ill she says, and it is easy for the person who put you in the institution to fake your illness. Why? The hospital was run by charitable donations, and when you read the deplorable conditions, someone with avarice had to be skimming money off the top. Nellie says after a week in this institution, working under cover, her own health from rotten food and no outside stimuli was weakening her stamina and state of mind. She says many women were not mentally ill. Was this to rob them of property and wealth and get them out of the way by legal officials to steal from them when their husbands died?

Little has changed. In order to get your bill paid, you must in modern age have a diagnosis that fits the DSM V.

Other books, the modern day Nellie Bly is "Voluntary Madness," Norah Vincent she goes undercover in a modern day facility, and "Becoming Anna," by Anna J. Michener.
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