Digital List Price: $24.95
Kindle Price: $14.72

Save $10.23 (41%)

These promotions will be applied to this item:

Some promotions may be combined; others are not eligible to be combined with other offers. For details, please see the Terms & Conditions associated with these promotions.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Madness in Civilization: A Cultural History of Insanity, from the Bible to Freud, from the Madhouse to Modern Medicine by [Scull, Andrew]
Kindle App Ad

Madness in Civilization: A Cultural History of Insanity, from the Bible to Freud, from the Madhouse to Modern Medicine Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

See all 8 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"

Length: 448 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled
  • Due to its large file size, this book may take longer to download

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
click to open popover

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.

Editorial Reviews


Honorable Mention for the 2016 PROSE Award in Psychology, Association of American Publishers

One of Kirkus Reviews' Best Nonfiction Books of 2015 in History

One of the New York Post’s Favorite Books of 2015

One of Paste Magazine’s 30 Best Nonfiction Books of 2015

"Sociologist and historian Andrew Scull is too rigorous a scholar to indulge in polemics. Instead, Mr. Scull has set himself the task of providing his readers with a clear, engaged and global overview of madness from the ancient world to the present . . . [his] tone is elegant; his scholarship, immaculate. The story he tells is riveting." "--Joanna Bourke, Wall Street Journal

"Scull's knowledge of music and art, cultural change, medicine, religion, and politics make this a great achievement in psychiatric history…[a] dynamic, readable chronicle and excellent reference."--Library Journal, starred review

"[A] far-ranging, illuminating study of minds gone awry across space and time. . . . Scull is sharp on every point, but some of his best moments come when he explains the introduction of psychoanalysis into pop culture in the postwar period, thanks in good part to Hollywood, and when he takes a sidelong look at both the drug-dependent psychiatry of today and its discontents, such as Scientology. To be read as both corrective and supplement to Foucault, Szasz, and Rieff. Often brilliant and always luminous and rewarding."--Kirkus, starred review

"Methodical yet always engrossing. . . . Scull's book is an outstanding illumination."--Oliver Kamm, Times of London

"[A] powerful and disturbing book . . . fascinating . . . engrossing."--John Carey, Sunday Times

"[Scull's] wide-ranging survey . . . chronologically presents factual and imaginative material about insanity. Scull, a historian of psychiatry for almost 40 years, has been well-served by his publishers, who have laid on more than 80 black-and-white images and almost 50 high-quality colour plates."--Sarah Wise, Financial Times

"I've only just started Andrew Scull's Madness in Civilization: A Cultural History of Insanity, but already it's taught me a lot about unreason, in all its guises. . . . The in in Scull's title is a nice reproach to Foucault; we like to think of insanity as existing apart from, or before, the constructs of society--and certainly we try to put it there--but Scull's history unpacks centuries of our cultural baggage about madness, arguing that it's 'indelibly part of civilization, not located outside it.'"--Dan Piepenbring, Paris Review

"[A] gigantic intellectual enterprise . . . what makes Scull so worth heeding is his reluctance to adopt a fixed position. Again and again, his drift is to emphasize how little we still know about mental disorders. He staunchly refuses to come down on the side of either biological or experiential explanations. . . . The standoff between the advocates of nature over nurture is very like that between materialism and religion. Both must surely be relevant to the complexity of human social experience. Thank goodness we have voices such as Andrew Scull's to keep us sane."--Salley Vickers, Telegraph

"as illuminating as it is compendious…a magisterial survey."--John Gray, New Statesman

"[a] vast and rather brilliant book."--Matt Haig, Independent

"Madness in Civilization is a landmark study, as authoritative as it is readable in its account of the devastatingly sad understory of human society. It's enraging, intensely unsparing reading, but it's a masterpiece." ."--Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly

"[A] rich and thorough cultural history of madness from the Bible to Freud. . . . I couldn't put it down and have dog-eared almost every one of those 400 pages."--Susannah Cahalan, New York Post

"In this centuries-spanning history, Andrew Scull reveals how mental illness was treated by numerous societies. . . . Madness in Civilization ultimately tears down the supposed barriers between society and the mentally ill, highlighting the many ways so-called 'madness' has been appropriated, marginalized and understood in the course of human history."--Bridey Heing, Paste Magazine

"Scull is . . . keenly attuned to the larger social contexts in which madness was both experienced and influenced. . . . Scull provides an illuminating commentary on the broad social and cultural contexts in which madness has occurred. . . . [W]ell-crafted."--Raymond E. Fancher, PsycCRITIQUES

"Madness in Civilization entirely deserves the applause it has received. This is the best single volume yet written on the cultural history of madness, and it is also the synoptic masterpiece of Scull's career. . . . [A] rich, lucid, outstandingly good book, one that merits a place on the shelves of any practitioner, sufferer, or interested common reader."--Richard Barnett, Lancet Psychiatry

"Andrew Scull, who teaches sociology and science studies at the University of California, San Diego, presents a comprehensive history of mental illness in his hefty but engaging volume. . . . A humane call to pay attention to lives that have been hidden, demonized, and stigmatized."--Ellen Painter Dollar, Christian Century

"[A] well-written and enjoyable book."--Alex Barnard, European Journal of Sociology

"Madness in Civilization is an impressive, mature and fluent book. It is a powerful work of cultural history and it contains much evidence from literature, art, film, music, physicians’ writing and reflection, medical writing and more."--Catharine Coleborne, Medical History

From the Back Cover

"A wonderful book, fascinating and beautifully written, with Scull's usual verve and erudition. Madness in Civilization explores how ancient and medieval societies coped with psychosis and shows that, brain imaging and psychotropic drugs notwithstanding, modern psychiatry has much to learn from these societies."--Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind

"An engaging, learned, and wonderfully thought-provoking history of human efforts to understand and manage those behaviors we call mad. An uncommon combination of learning and accessible writing, Scull's admirable book is a must-read for anyone interested in this ‘most solitary of afflictions.'"--Charles Rosenberg, Harvard University

"In this engrossing book, Scull takes us from ancient Greece to the pharmacopoeias of today to give us the long view of how reason has understood and treated unreason. This is history at its best, scintillating in its detail and passionate about a subject that concerns us all."--Lisa Appignanesi, author of Trials of Passion: Crimes in the Name of Love and Madness

"Madness in Civilization is a brilliant, provocative, and hugely entertaining history of the treatment and mistreatment of the mentally ill. Packed with bizarre details and disturbing facts, Andrew Scull's book offers fresh and compelling insights on the way medicine's inability to solve the mystery of madness has both haunted and shaped two thousand years of culture. Required reading for anyone who has ever gone to a shrink!"--Dirk Wittenborn, author of Pharmakon

"Andrew Scull is the premier historian of psychiatry in the Anglophone world, and this book triumphantly demonstrates this. Taking a broad canvas, from antiquity to modernity, Scull dissects what madness has meant to societies throughout history and throughout the world. He writes with passion but humor, has a brilliant eye for a pungent quotation or a telling story, and holds the reader spellbound. This is a compelling book from a master of his craft."--William F. Bynum, coeditor of the Dictionary of Medical Biography

"Dr. Scull is one of the preeminent historians of psychiatry in the world today. There is almost no one else who could write a volume of this kind with the panache he brings to it, the ability to hold both a lay and an academic readership in thrall at the same time, and the sense of balance and proportion that comes to some with experience but to others not at all. There is no other volume comparable to this in scope and this is a once in a generation effort."--David Healy, author of Pharmageddon

"Andrew Scull is probably our most knowledgeable and certainly most readable historian of madness. In his new book, the magisterial Madness in Civilization, he presents a panoramic view of the subject that's both clear-eyed and critical. Crisply written, and furnished with a wealth of cultural and clinical reference, this is a great, tragic story."--Patrick McGrath, author of Asylum

"A work of heroic scholarship, an eloquent overview of the changing theories and treatments of madness from ancient religion, medicine, and myth to contemporary neuroscience and psychopharmacology. Scull shows not only how writers, artists, and composers have taken madness as a muse, but also how the shifting symbolic forms of unreason are truly part of its history. Compendious and compassionate."--Elaine Showalter, professor emeritus, Princeton University, author of The Female Malady

Product details

  • File Size: 94384 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0691166153
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (April 5, 2015)
  • Publication Date: April 5, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00VQJY1J0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #452,813 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  • Would you like to tell us about a lower price?

Customer reviews

Rated by customers interested in
Literary Fiction
4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Religion & Spirituality Books
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Sports Books
4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars

Top customer reviews

on November 1, 2015
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 3, 2016
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 31, 2015
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
0Comment| 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 4, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon April 13, 2015
Format: Hardcover
33 comments| 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 7, 2015
Format: Hardcover
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Most recent customer reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Madness in Civilization: A Cultural History of Insanity, from the Bible to Freud, from the Madhouse to Modern Medicine
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: Madness in Civilization: A Cultural History of Insanity, from the Bible to Freud, from the Madhouse to Modern Medicine