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Golden Cage: The Enigma of Anorexia Nervosa Mass Market Paperback – March 12, 1979

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

An extraordinary achievement… Bruch wrote with clarity, insight and compassion of her cases during the anorexia outbreak of the early ’70s, an epidemic that seemed to arise out of nowhere, with no official diagnosis. (Holly Brubach New York Times Style Magazine 2007-05-01)

The Golden Cage is eminently readable and generously spiced with vivid illustrations from Bruch’s own clinical case material. Her discussion of and generalization from this material are wonderfully astute. (Contemporary Psychology)

The story of the disorder itself is beautifully written, presented with a deftness, lightness, and accuracy that make the reader yearn to turn the page, to watch the unfolding of this very enigmatic disorder. This is the single most important professionally written book for laypersons and parents. (Shervert H. Frazier, M.D., McLean Hospital) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

One of the world's leading authorities offers a vivid and moving account of the causes, effects, and treatment of this devastating disease.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (March 12, 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039472688X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394726885
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,749,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A remarkable description of the basic personality and family mechanisms involved in teenage mental disorders and their anorectic expression.
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By J. McGill on September 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book was extremely informative about the underlying causes of eating disorders. It gave me a better understanding for how they can develop in the home, how parental pressures at a young age can have a huge influence, and also supports the fact that you don't have to have a tragic up bringing to be subject to an eating disorder.
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Format: Paperback
One of the first books on anorexia and widely influential , the theories propounded in this book are nevertheless after over thirty years either unsubstantiated or discredited, having been propounded before an understanding of the fundamental cognitive damage that occurs during starvation as well as the underlying genetic causes of the illness. The treatments based on Bruch's theories, have been shown to be at least 50% less effective than family based therapy, and often result in not only ineffective but actively harmful outcomes to patients.

For excellent, evidence-based and readable books on the causes of eating disorders, I recommend Decoding Anorexia by Carrie Arnold and How to Help Your Teen Beat and Eating Disorder by Locke and LeGrange.

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(I am not affiliated with any of those referenced.)
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Format: Paperback
When all is said and done, 'The Golden Cage' (1978) is probably the most significant popular book on eating disorders ever written. Prior to it's publication, all sort's of various and strange explanations were offered up to explain EDs, but it wasn't until Hildie Bruch published this pioneering work that our modern understanding of EDs began to unfold.

Burch is an impressive individual herself ; one of the few members of her family to escape the Nazis and make it to the United States. A pediatrician, and later a professor who lived to publish several books on EDs. After her death, her life was summarized in the biography 'Unlocking the Golden Cage' (1996).

Oddly, her conclusions about EDs have recently become somewhat of a political football, as modern fashion now turns toward describing everything in terms of genetics, and old-school psychology comes increasingly under fire as "soft science". Commercial treatment programs find it convenient to openly reject her findings as well : How can they ask parents to pay huge sums for treatment, while subscribing to a theory that may implicate those very same parents in their development ?

None the less, anyone who's had EDs themselves will recognize many of her conclusions as resonant and truthful.

Theory naturally blows back and forth with the times, but years from now Bruch will still be honored as the first professional to unlock the emotional secrets of eating disorders.

Historically relevant and relevant today, and highly recommended.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
empathic portrayal of anorexia nervosa by a pioneer in the field; it has human descriptives of everything characterized scientifically in textbooks and journals.
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Format: Paperback
I was looking to find the personality behind anorexia before I recognized that my 7-year-old niece was well on her way in terms of personality. (If the anoretic in a large family is known as the snitch, no-one would recognize that in the usual small family.) I've read any number of books about anorexia, but none more sympathetic from an outsiders view. Unfortunately, most books on the subject are written by anoretics. It's a stretch to believe that they can be objective about their own condition. But they have lived it. There are never solid comments such as "no sense of humor" or having a "tiny little voice". These are physical manifestations that can be easily recognized. I think that's important.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book was in more pristine condition than I expected.

Review:
If you want to better understand eating disorders, the factors that contribute to their on-set, the psychology behind them, the personal experiences of people who have suffered from them and effective treatment methods, Hilde does an excellent job of illuminating and examining this often hidden and misunderstood world.
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