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Suspicious Minds: How Culture Shapes Madness Hardcover – July 8, 2014
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“The book amounts to nothing less than a frontal—or perhaps pre-frontal—challenge to the dominant view of modern psychiatry, which looks to neuroscience to explain disorders of the mind. . . . Suspicious Minds comes alive with often-provocative notions. [Joel and Ian Gold] pepper the book with often fascinating case histories of the deluded, which provide more proof that no fantasist can hope to match the wonders—and horrors—of the human mind.” (Washington Post)
"A dual broadside: against a psychiatric profession that has become infatuated with neuroscience as part of its longstanding attempt to establish itself as 'real medicine,' and against a culture that has become too networked for its own good." (New York Times Book Review)
"Suspicious Minds is an important book. It's sharp, compassionate and incredibly well researched. It gives a window into current psychiatric debates, and it builds toward a theory that is at least plausible and definitely thought provoking." (The Globe and Mail)
"Evidently, [the Gold brothers] hypothesize in a droll Oliver Sacksian tone, culture has a great deal of influence on trends in madness." (The Village Voice)
"A fascinating and intimate portrait of psychosis." (Scientific American)
"Juxtaposing recent research on schizophrenia with page-turning case studies of these paranoid patients, the Golds argue that psychotic delusions (not to mention mesmeric movie plots) are the result of interactions between the brain and the sociocultural world, and they bring to light the discipline-altering fact that culture has a role to play in the development of psychopathology generally. . . . [A] contrarian, insightful, and important book. . . . [Gold and Gold's] analysis of culture-linked paranoia comprises an effective argument that our seemingly endless struggle to align our society with our more enlightened ideals may be a fight for our very minds." (The New Republic)
“Suspicious Minds offers lessons to anyone interested in the complexity of the mental health field’s future.” (New York Post)
"The Golds reveal how the categories of delusion map onto the social world, and they raise questions about the future of madness in a social world that’s gone global in the age of the Internet. The result is a view that breaks the bonds of contemporary psychiatry by showing that madness is as much a social disease as it is biological." (The Philadelphia Tribune)
"A provocative new perspective on the diagnosis, and therefore treatment, of mental illness." (Kirkus Reviews)
“This remarkable book isn’t just a crash course in delusions, which would be interesting enough. It’s a history of psychiatry, a thriller, an expose of dubious brain science, a collection of fascinating and heartbreaking mini-biographies, and a warning about the fragmentation of modern life.” (A.J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically)
"A compulsively readable and unexpectedly entertaining book that stands as a needed corrective to a purely biological explanation for mental illness. By emphasizing the cultural vector for madness, the Gold brothers reveal their compassionate understanding of both the sick and the sane—and the surprisingly porous border between those two states." (John Colapinto, author of As Nature Made Him and a staff writer at The New Yorker)
"An excellent portrayal of delusions and madness, well written, well researched and exciting to read. Written by experts in the field, I highly recommend this book to all those who want a deeper understanding of the mind and how it works." (Benjamin Sadock, MD, Menas S Gregory Professor of Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine)
“A powerful and engaging examination of how insanity is molded by culture. Pithy, insightful, and engrossing.” (Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, author of What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine)
“The book provides a bracing insight into the natural hidden camera apprehensions of our era, through the eyes of the most vulnerable among us. Artists, videographers and writers interested in the philosophy of the digital era will want to place Suspicious Minds on their nightstands.” (The Times-Picayune)
About the Author
Ian Gold, PhD, is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Psychiatry at McGill University.
Top Customer Reviews
This book paints an accurate picture of the so-called delusional brain. It is almost like taking a crash course into psychiatry, but it also delves into history in a more thrilling tone than other non-fiction books. This makes sense, considering that the two authors are an attending psychiatrist and a psychiatric researcher.
According to Joel and Ian Gold, delusions go back "nearly as far as the written records of human civilization," and yet we still know so little about them. In fact, Mesopotamians and Babylonians viewed madness as a punishment for something done wrong; they harbored little sympathy for those ailing.
If you enjoy Suspicious Minds, you might also enjoy reading about the psychology behind animal minds. Many psychology fans recommend Laurel Braitman's Animal Madness, a study into the lives of anxious and compulsive animals throughout history. Both books paint accurate pictures of the world of psychology.
Finally, this book is succinct and easy to read as it offers such refreshing insight into the world of early psychiatry. It is easily accessible and entertaining enough to include on any psych bookshelf.
The book also does a great service in enlightening ordinary, everyday people about the tragedy of mental illness and how pervasive it can be. Mental illness affects many, whether the patient is a co-worker, relative or close friend. This is demonstrated in the book by the numerous case studies found throughout the book. They are enlightening and really show the human, caring side of the doctors. This is a very kind and educational book.
I would recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about delusions and schizophrenia, since it is very approachable and easy to read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Quite the read for those interested in those struggling with hallucinations and delusions.Published 4 months ago by penb
I haven't got much to say other than the information in it was very good. The authors had an understanding of the negative effects of bullying too.Published 10 months ago by G Anon.
Cross cultural philosophies about mental illness. I needed some grounding for a witness who was delusional. (I am a trial lawyer. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Michael Louis Minns
This is a great book. For too long, the cultural nature of delusions has been ignored. This book delves into the cultural underpinnings of delusions in a fascinating way. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Juniper Breeze
Great book, great condition, speedy delivery. Thank you.Published 17 months ago by Treuhaft Library
A good insight into the paranoid minds. Those of us with delusions will see we are normal? We all have delusions of some kind. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Back in Yankeedom
Top notch!!! Fast service, book is sparkling new. Thanks so much!Published 20 months ago by Red Rover