- Series: Architecture, Landscape and Amer Culture
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; 1 edition (April 12, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0816649405
- ISBN-13: 978-0816649402
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.7 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 21 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #991,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Architecture of Madness: Insane Asylums in the United States (Architecture, Landscape and Amer Culture) 1st Edition
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Top customer reviews
The book, however, has some fundamental flaws in areas I have in depth knowledge of which causes me to question the accuracy of the areas with which I am less familiar.
The author clearly has a very limited knowledge of Psychiatry and Mental Illness from both an historical and modern day perspective. The book attributes the decline in populations in State mental hospitals from the 1950's on to among other things - the refusal by them to directly admit voluntary patients. This is strange as, at least in New York State - the institutions mentioned in her book were still admitting patients referring themselves directly from the streets well into the 1980's.
There are many other examples too numerous to list which betray her very limited knowledge of the field. The book would have been much better if it had confined itself to architecture and left out the author's almost "grade school need to write a report" attempts to explain mental illness and its treatments.
The author has, by trying to go beyond her knowledge base, turned what could have been a very good book into one which starts out with a great premise and ends with some pitiful speeches on why the author thinks these large facilities declined- decades before they actually did and her belief that psychiatric hospitals are not needed but ones for physical illness are.
Would recommend you borrow this book from the library to read as it is too expensive to own with its flaws.
My only complaint with the book is that it left me wanting more. I would like to have seen more interior photographs on some of the surviving buildings as they are today (like those you can find at [...]). I also wish the author had devoted a little space to Danvers State Hospital, the fascinating building best known from the film "Session 9." There were also a number of cases where the floor plans for various buildings either lacked the key that explained what each room was, or where the key was effectively too small to read.
That said, I found this book to be a very good source of detailed information about the history and philosophy of assylums in the US.
so a reader should go online and search "Historic mental institutions" etc. etc .
There once was a "kingdom of confinement" that was big, big business. The population
was that much smaller . . . yet there were that many committed to fill the nation-wide
"asylum-chain" extent of institutionalization!?!?!?!?
Most recent customer reviews
but well documented, and provides a context for mental illness treatment methods, and the role of architecture