- Paperback: 426 pages
- Publisher: Syracuse University Press; Reprint edition (April 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0815604610
- ISBN-13: 978-0815604617
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #556,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement Paperback – April 1, 1997
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From the Back Cover
In this seminal work, Dr. Szasz examines the similarities between the Inquisition and institutional psychiatry. His purpose is to show 'that the belief in mental illness and the social actions to which it leads have the same moral implications and political consequences as had the belief in witchcraft and the social actions to which it led.'
Top Customer Reviews
His views were considered heretical by his colleagues (an irony that he makes much of) because he argued, quite strongly, that institutional psychiatry is dehumanizing both to patients and society as a whole because it deprives these people of all rights, treats them as objects to be repaired, and submits them to cruel tortures in the name of therapy. He went on to declare that mental illness itself is a myth; there has never been a scientific basis for treating social and behavioral deviance as stemming from the same causes as physical illnesses, nor reason to try to cure it. His central thesis is that institutional psychiatry fills the same role in modern times as the Inquisition did until only a few hundred years ago--a system of control and suppression of social deviants.
Then the issue of manufacturing a person's madness came intimately into my life during the past two years or so. I found a used copy (maybe Amazon.com) and read it within the past three months. This book literally armed me with arguments that permitted me to persuade others--those holding the keys of bondage--that their system was flawed, and it resulted in the release of a person from incarceration in a mental institution. Since that time this person has been seen by a number of mental health professionals none of which attach a mental diagnosis to him.
I think the true value of this book to me is the psychoanalytic quality of the writing and its systematic approach. I would see it as being very hard to find Szasz's arguments as flawed, although I can see how some aspects of his thought maybe viewed as being exaggerated. Still, sometimes we all have to exaggerate a problem in order to expand it be able to sufficiently see what is actually going on. I think he does this eloquently and elegantly.
There were times when I was reading the book when I thought I might not get any more out of it, and I was tempted to set it aside, and I am so glad that I didn't. I feel now that this text was a very personal thing to him, and it comes out in the end, although it might not be completely evident.
I got a great deal out of reading this book. I would recommend it to anybody whose life has been affected by fear, doubt, superstition, dogmatic therapists, etc. Just knowing how the system is set up institutionally can assist one in making better choices and articulating your views, particularly when they are based on sensitive feelings.
Many mental health professionals like to come across at times as being god-like, but those who do come across this way are often insecure and exploit others to hide their own deficiencies. This book truly helps in being able to uncover that deception in a way that you can go nose to nose with the inquisitors of this generation who can be very dangerous and who can create a tremendous amount of damage.
It is scary, but it is far more scary without the knowledge Szasz has so generoously provided us, and which is made even more poignant given the persecutions he received from others within his own field.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"solve" it. But the book has the details.Read more
US Intelligence agencies use and experiement with this stuff too.Read more
Creating Mentall Illness... They create what they ment to cure.
That is fraud.Read more