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The Three Christs of Ypsilanti (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – April 19, 2011
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-Steven Marcus, The New York Review of Books
“A rare and eccentric journey into the madness of not three, but four men in an asylum. It is, in that sense, an unexpected tribute to human folly, and one that works best as a meditation on our own misplaced self-confidence. Whether scientist or psychiatric patient, we assume others are more likely to be biased or misled than we are, and we take for granted that our own beliefs are based on sound reasoning and observation. This may be the nearest we can get to revelation—the understanding that our most cherished beliefs could be wrong.”
—Vaughan Bell, Slate
“The Three Christs is part meticulous log-book, part intriguing commentary and part high-voltage play as Rokeach recreates the men's interactions over 25 months. Rokeach's aim was to force them to confront ‘the ultimate contradiction’ of believing they were the same being….Reissued for the first time in over 25 years, it comes with a pithy and sensitive preface by Rick Moody, foregrounding both changing attitudes to institutional care and the problems and possibilities of Rokeach's experiment.” – The Guardian
"It also seemed to me, aged 16, that The Three Christs of Ypsilanti contained everything there was to know about the world. That’s not the case of course, but if resources were short, I’d still be inclined to salvage this book as a way of explaining the terror of the human condition, and the astonishing fact that people battle for their rights and dignity in the face of that terror, in order to establish their place in the world, whatever they decide it has to be." -- Jenny Diski, London Review of Books
About the Author
Rick Moody was born in New York City in 1961. He is the author of five novels, three collections of stories, and a memoir, The Black Veil. His work has been widely anthologized. He has taught at Bennington College, SUNY Purchase, New York University, and the New School for Social Research. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Top Customer Reviews
This study was carried out over a lengthy period of time by state psychiatrist Milton Rokeach (the book author) in Ypsilanti, Michigan in 1964. One might question Rokeach's ethics in carrying out such an experiment with three such delusional men but, had it led to a cure for any of their respective mental difficulties, one could say that the end justified the means. And it was, of course, Rokeach's objective to help these men.
This book is often difficult to find and is usually rather expensive when it is located, typically around $30 for a hardcover edition. Still, it's a great read and anyone who has an interest in social science will find it especially riveting.
The book starts out written a bit like a novel, but then just becomes snippets of conversations. It's pretty obvious, after the fact, that these men cannot be cured. What is sad is that the doctors involved seem to feel that they can mess with these patients heads under the deluded impression that maybe something the doctors do will "fix" the patients. It's painfully obvious that the doctors have no clue what they are doing and are throwing spaghetti against the wall to see if any of it sticks. The book is heavily loaded with one particular patient, and a little bit of the second patient and almost none of the third patient. It is still a fascinating read, and I'm surprised no one has tried to make it into a movie.
I didn't understand the cover art. I thought maybe it was just some trees and a lake in Ypsilanti. My husband read the fine print on the back of the book. Cover photo: William C. Weidling, "Nature's Mystic Apparition of Christ," Covington, KY 1914,Gelatin silver print. They he held the book away from me and all of a sudden I saw a naked bearded man in the tree branches on the left side of the book cover. Now I cannot UNsee it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting take on psychosis. I love the story format and how it explains the three different patientsPublished 14 months ago by kyle
excellent price and super-fast shipping - couldn't ask for more than that!
nothing to worry about whatsoever
This is one of the driest reads ever. The premise is great, three Christs meet in a mental institution. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Maggie H.
This was recommended by one of my psychology professors. It was a good read.Published 17 months ago by Thomas R Ahlberg
Milton Rokeach thankfully has an editor to help with this writing. I found it a bit of a hard read but it was still very interesting. Read morePublished on June 15, 2014 by Bear Misfit
Awesome book! Worthwhile read! This was an amazing study! It's easy to read and really makes you think about schizophrenia in a different way!Published on August 23, 2013 by cdnchick
This book is a must have in any psychiatric health provider's library. I recommend it for CNA's, nurses, and doctors who work with the mentally ill.Published on February 7, 2013 by Voltor
This was an insightful book for its time. The idea of placing three people who all claim to be divinity in a therapy session was a bit repugnant at first to me, almost like it was... Read morePublished on January 24, 2013 by keith a. podhradsky