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Madness: A Very Short Introduction
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Madness: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #279)

3.49  ·  Rating Details  ·  69 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Madness is something that frightens and fascinates us all. It is a word with which we are universally familiar, and a condition that haunts the human imagination. In this Very Short Introduction, Andrew Scull provides a provocative and entertaining examination of the social, cultural, medical, and artistic responses to mental disturbance across more than two millennia, con ...more
Paperback, 134 pages
Published September 2nd 2011 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published August 25th 2011)
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Jamie Rosen
Oct 22, 2013 Jamie Rosen rated it liked it
More of a sociohistorical overview than I expected, and certainly one of the more openly opinionated entries I've read in the Very Short Introduction series. Not a bad book, by any stretch, but not as good as I had hoped it would be, likely for the reasons mentioned above.
Steve
May 04, 2013 Steve rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
This should perhaps be titled “The History of Madness – A very Short Introduction” as Andrew Scull concentrates on the treatment of the mad throughout history rather than discussing in any depth what madness is. As a History it is very informative, from an excess of black bile, to asylums, psychoanalysis, and big pharma, Scull tells to the story of how they all evolved and how their rising stars have all fallen. Never less than skeptical about any of the mechanisms for helping the mentally ill, ...more
David McMahon
Nov 12, 2014 David McMahon rated it did not like it
I consider the title of this misleading. The other "very short introduction" titles I have read so far (Quantum mechanics & magnetism) did not suffer from this. Instead of talking about madness itself the author seems to have wanted to write about the failings of Psychiatry and Psycho-pharmacology. I was looking for an examination of mental illness and instead got a heap of vitriol and scorn against two very recent features in a subject with a long history.
Cathryn
Nov 02, 2015 Cathryn rated it it was amazing
As with all the Very Short Introduction books, marvellous concise and packed summary of key themes, ideas, theories regarding 'madness'.
Joe
I really enjoyed this book but I was expecting more of an overview of how madness works, both as a biological and as a psychoanalytical condition. Instead, this book is about the history of psychological treatment. I learned how afflicted people were locked up, the way methodology adapted and evolved, the slow dissolution of the insane asylum, and the chilling future of pharmaceutical interest in treatment. There's very little on what madness is or how it works. Still, the subject matter is unde ...more
Jade Lauron
Very informative and the subject matter is quite enthralling, but not one of the best written in the "very short introduction" series. It's very dry.
Harajyuku
Nov 18, 2015 Harajyuku rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is not so much about madness as it is about evolving views of madness through select eras of Western history. This was an interesting read but I do wish the author could have remained more objective at points.
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