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I found this book to be very insightful and it built my foundation on the history of psychiatry. Needless to say it fills in some gaping holes left by introductory and intermediate psychology textbooks.
I noticed another reviewer refer to this work as Pop history, but I would defend Shorter (Professor at University of Toronto) as an academic in this case. His notations are meticulous and this is an example of scholarship; not pop lit.
That being said, there are certainly instances in this text where Shorter's interpretations and opinions concerning the philosophy of psychiatry shine through (I particularly liked his treatment of the Quaker 'Moral Treatment' and his criticisms of the medical model of psychiatry) but he's not exactly plotting with Tom Cruise and Scientologists.
Do you care about psychiatry? Are you considering a career in public health, mental health, medicine, or psychology? If so, reading this book is critical to building an understanding of mankind's struggle and ultimate inability to cure mental illness in the last 250 years. If you come into reading this book thinking that the solution to mental illness is simple and comes in pill form, you're in for a rude awakening. Even if you already know better than that, there is much to be gained by looking at the seemingly random history of psychiatry and the competing goals of curing vs. treating mental illness.
 

Review: A History of Psychiatry: From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac

User Review  - Charlotte Holst - Goodreads

This book is not a dull history book - while painting the big picture of the history of psychiatry in Europe and north America, it also gives you some very interesting perspectives on the social ... Read full review

Review: A History of Psychiatry: From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac

User Review  - William Nist - Goodreads

This fascinating account of the development of Psychiatry from the operators of 18th century insane asylums to the gatekeepers of the psychopharmacological drug stable is a tour De force in Medical ... Read full review

Review: A History of Psychiatry: From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac

User Review  - Sagar Jethani - Goodreads

Shorter does a remarkable job compressing over 200 years of medical history into a single, readable volume. Rather than attempting to provide the reader with an exhaustive chronology of psychiatry ... Read full review

Review: A History of Psychiatry: From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac

User Review  - Jeroen - Goodreads

Very good book that summarizes the history of psychiatry in Western civilization and thoroughly addresses one of the most controversial periods in its history: the rise and fall of psychoanalysis ... Read full review


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