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

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

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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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)

[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)

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

From the Inside Flap

"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 ofA 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 ofPharmakon

"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 theDictionary 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 ofPharmageddon

"Andrew Scull is probably our most knowledgeable and certainly most readable historian of madness. In his new book, the magisterialMadness 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 ofAsylum

"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 ofThe Female Malady

Product details

  • File Size: 94384 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • 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: #457,096 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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