Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $34.95
  • Save: $8.09 (23%)
Only 4 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Invisible Plague: The Ris... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Mild wear to cover. No markings in text.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Invisible Plague: The Rise of Mental Illness from 1750 to the Present Paperback – July 6, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$26.86
$25.86 $9.60
$26.86 FREE Shipping. Only 4 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Invisible Plague: The Rise of Mental Illness from 1750 to the Present
  • +
  • Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill
  • +
  • Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche
Total price: $46.91
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In their refreshing, thoroughly documented, cogent reply to the current generally accepted interpretation of the incidence and even the existence of insanity, Torrey and Miller point out many holes in the arguments of other recent historians of the subject and don't push any single approach to schizophrenia and manic depression. Instead, they ask for a spirit of inquiry because so much about the rate of growth and the causes of mental illness remains unclear that open-minded research and clinical studies are still very much needed. Although there are a lot of statistics and graphs, as well as explication of them, in the book, there is also enough history of diagnosis and treatment in the U.S., England, Ireland, and Canada to fascinate readers whose favorite topic isn't numbers. The book delves deeply into clinical accounts and historic insane-asylum politics, funding, and social acceptance. Frequent reference to literary works and authors lightens the tone of the proceedings, as does the authors' hypothesis of a relationship between the wearing of stockings and the incidence of insanity. William Beatty
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"The authors have done impressive research locating an enormous number of examples of mental distress in the geographic and temporal areas of their focus." -- Journal of the History of Medicine

"This highly informative and stimulating work has certainly raised some neglected questions that demand more serious scientific attention." -- Nature
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 458 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press (July 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813542073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813542072
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,681,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was a delightful read. It is a fascinating trip back through history on a thought provoking topic, and the authors present their view in a scholarly manner. There is enough anecdotal information to keep it moving and interesting, and it is far from being "dry". If you have even a casual interest in the rise of mental illness in Britain and North America you'll definitely enjoy this book.
Comment 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
_The Invisible Plague_ is written by psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey and examines the issue of the increase in worldwide cases of insanity since the eighteenth century. The book is at once both a scientific study which attempts to explain certain statistical data from different parts of the world, including Europe, the United States, and Canada, as well as a history of the mental asylum. Torrey examines in particular the issue of insanity and it's two principal forms - that of schizophrenia and that of manic-depressive psychosis. He also examines the role of insanity within literature, examining writings of such figures as Edgar Allen Poe, Hawthorne, and Melville, among others of course. Data from successive censuses taken in various countires seem to support Torrey's conclusions that insanity is indeed increasing, though with the era of deinstitutionalization this becomes more difficult to prove. Thus, according to Torrey, this issue may be covered up, because where formerly patients were admitted to asylums today they are not. Explanations for this increase have traditionally varied. Torrey also discusses some of the theories as to the causes of insanity - all biological, including genetics, stress, and environmental factors, as well as toxins and microbes in the environment. While the warnings in this book may appear alarmist, this book offers an informative introduction to the issue of insanity, which continues to plague the modern world despite its ancient origins. As a history text this book is good in that it reveals some of the developments which were responsible for the birth of modern day psychiatry and the state mental institution or asylum. Perhaps we can see in insanity, a reflection of the larger struggles of civilization as it makes its way from its birth pangs in ancient times, to its growth development, and eventual old age and decline.
Comment 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating review of the history of mental illness for periods of time that are usually rather hard to research. I cannot speak for the accuracy since I am not a historian and I do not have the resource library to check out it's references, but it seems quite reasonable and well researched. I enjoyed the book for the thoughts it provoked and how it filled in gaps about the development of the notions of mental illness over the last several hundred years. This book has been the key to many intreguing disucssions.
Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Dr. E. Fuller Torrey does excellent research and gives extensive information on the life and times of the maltreatment of the mentally ill. Very good book. I recommend this to anyone who has been diagnosed with a mental illness or has family members suffering from a mental illness.
This book shows me that the mentally ill are still treated like a human zoo just like they were back in the times of Bedlam in London. Just look at the movies and tv news reports....the public is made to fear mental illness instead of understand it.
Dr. Torrey's book tries to break down the walls of stigma and ddiscrimination to educate people.
Comment 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Are we living in an insanity epidemic? Yes indeed, we certainly are, according to The Invisible Plague by Dr. Edwin Fuller Torrey and Judy Miller. This book provides an illuminating history of insanity, focusing on the last three centuries in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and the United States. "Insanity" here refers to two conditions, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder (manic-depressive). Today, "psychosis" is the proper term for describing insanity and lunacy, but the authors preferred to use history's word, insanity.

The objective of this book was to convince us that an epidemic of insanity has been growing in Western society, based on a small mountain of circumstantial evidence. Insanity seems to be one of the many unintended consequences of the Industrial Revolution. In the four regions studied, the last 300 years have been an era of turbulent change on a colossal scale.

By the end of the nineteenth century, the British Empire had spread to every corner of the world. The news coming back from frontier outposts consistently reported that insanity was rare or unknown in "primitive" societies, where folks enjoyed a far slower way of life. Long-term stability was the opposite of crazy.

In Britain, a number of observers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were well aware of a growing insanity epidemic, and some actually linked it to civilization -- it was simply an acceptable cost for the wonders of progress, wealth, and luxury. Living in such amazing times over-excited the minds of those who were mentally fragile, and this was simply unavoidable. Some even saw rising insanity as a badge of honor, indisputable proof that civilization was thriving. Lunatic asylums were booming, praise the Lord!
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Invisible Plague: The Rise of Mental Illness from 1750 to the Present
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Invisible Plague: The Rise of Mental Illness from 1750 to the Present