Synopses & Reviews
"PPPP . . . To compress 200 years of psychiatric theory and practice into a compelling and coherent narrative is a fine achievement . . . . What strikes the reader [most] are Shorter's storytelling skills, his ability to conjure up the personalities of the psychiatrists who shaped the discipline and the conditions under which they and their patients lived."—Ray Monk The Mail on Sunday magazine, U.K.
"An opinionated, anecdote-rich history. . . . While psychiatrists may quibble, and Freudians and other psychoanalysts will surely squawk, those without a vested interest will be thoroughly entertained and certainly enlightened."—Kirkus Reviews.
"Shorter tells his story with immense panache, narrative clarity, and genuinely deep erudition."—Roy Porter Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine.
In A History of Psychiatry, Edward Shorter shows us the harsh, farcical, and inspiring realities of society's changing attitudes toward and attempts to deal with its mentally ill and the efforts of generations of scientists and physicians to ease their suffering. He paints vivid portraits of psychiatry's leading historical figures and pulls no punches in assessing their roles in advancing or sidetracking our understanding of the origins of mental illness.
Shorter also identifies the scientific and cultural factors that shaped the development of psychiatry. He reveals the forces behind the unparalleled sophistication of psychiatry in Germany during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as well as the emergence of the United States as the world capital of psychoanalysis.
This engagingly written, thoroughly researched, and fiercely partisan account is compelling reading for anyone with a personal, intellectual, or professional interest in psychiatry.
Edward Shorter covers the history psychiatry from the late 18th century to the present. Supporting his often provocative positions with the latest historical and scientific research, he sounds the death knell for "talking" therapies and heralds a bright new age of medical-based psychiatric treatments.
In this comprehensive history of psychiatry, Edward Shorter examines the evolution of psychiatric theory and practice from the 18th century to the present. The text argues for a return to "biological" roots and treatments of mental illness, as opposed to "social" roots.
With cinematic scope and precision, Shorter shows us the harsh, farcical, and inspiring realities of society's changing attitudes toward its mentally ill and the efforts of generations of scientists and physicians to ease their suffering. He takes us inside the eighteenth-century asylums, with their restraints and beatings, and guides us through the landscaped boulevards of the spas and rest homes where the "nervous disorders" of the Victorian elite were treated with bromides, buttermilk, and kind words. He leads us through the teeming "snake pits" of early twentieth-century public mental hospitals and the gleaming laboratories of today's pharmaceutical cartels. Writing in the tradition of the best social history, Shorter delineates the major scientific and cultural forces that shaped the development of psychiatry. Along the way, he paints vivid portraits of the leading figures - names such as Esquirol and Pinel, Krafft-Ebing and Kraepelin, Freud and Horney - who peopled the history of psychiatry. He pulls no punches in assessing the roles these men and women played in advancing our understanding of the biological origins of mental illness, or sidetracking psychiatry into pseudoscience, metaphysics, and fanaticism.
Edward Shorter reveals the harsh, farcical, and inspiring realities of society's changing attitudes toward and attempts to deal with its mentally ill, and the efforts of generations of scientists and physicians to ease their suffering.
About the Author
EDWARD SHORTER, PhD, is Hannah Professor in the History of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He is the author of ten books, including the international bestseller The Making of the Modern Family and a two-volume history of psychosomatic illness.
Table of Contents
The Birth of Psychiatry.
The Asylum Era.
The First Biological Psychiatry.
The Psychoanalytic Hiatus.
The Second Biological Psychiatry.
From Freud to Prozac.