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The Man with the Electrified Brain

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  286 ratings  ·  35 reviews
“A GRIPPING DESCRIPTION OF A JOURNEY TO HELL AND BACK, ONE THAT WILL TAKE ITS PLACE BESIDE WILLIAM STYRON’S ‘DARKNESS VISIBLE’ AND KAY REDFIELD JAMISON’S ‘AN UNQUIET MIND.’” —OLIVER SACKS

“I glanced at myself in a mirror and, though unshaven, and my hair still morning-tousled, I appeared to be just the same. It was inside, inside my head, where all had become so wretchedly
...more
Kindle Edition, 32 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by Byliner Inc. (first published August 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  286 ratings  ·  35 reviews


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Narmin Hajizada
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I tend to romanticise mind diseases and am easily drawn into mental mysteries. Personal accounts, fictional stories, clinical case studies - anything and everything. I am agitated with the fear of developing a mental malady and cling to books as a way to maintain my sanity.

The Man with the Electrified Brain is a short but truthful account of the author’s experience with mental disorder - the betrayal of the brain, questionable yet effective healing and the accompanying fear of a relapse.

As a si
...more
George
Aug 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
VERY INTERESTING/FRIGHTENING.

“For decades afterwards—and still today, given the persistent mysteries of the brain and the attendant complications in mapping it—I have worried that the debilities of those years might return. I have blamed this fear, irrational though it may sound, purely and simply on the writings of Somerset Maugham.”—screen 8/85

As the man [Oliver Saks] says in his blurb, THE MAN WITH THE ELECTRIFIED BRAIN: ADVENTURES IN MADNESS, by Simon Winchester is: “A gripping description o
...more
Tim
Feb 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very interesting from a medical perspective. Could be a bit more in-depth in researching the problem and how it was 'solved', but for the length of the book, you can't ask for much more.
Charlotte
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simon Winchester awakens one morning while at Oxford and suddenly everything around him seems threatening ... nothing has changed ... but everything is different. Everything from his housecoat, to painting and books, was terrifying. All of this happens about two weeks before he's to set off on an expedition to the Arctic.

After 9 days of suffering in a world of his own... the "fog" lifted. The expedition began without a hitch. He was suffering from strange compulsions - dangerous ones int he arct
...more
Charlotte
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Simon Winchester awakens one morning while at Oxford and suddenly everything around him seems threatening ... nothing has changed ... but everything is different. Everything from his housecoat, to painting and books, was terrifying. All of this happens about two weeks before he's to set off on an expedition to the Arctic.

After 9 days of suffering in a world of his own... the "fog" lifted. The expedition began without a hitch. He was suffering from strange compulsions - dangerous ones int he arct
...more
Jolly P.
Aug 04, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars, rounded down!

I liked Simon Winchester's use of language, and how there were tints of humor in the book's words. This book is great for an insight into the human experience and the human condition. I loved how short and sweet the book was, and the lack of description was perfect for the focus of the book.

It was a nice read if you are studying up on medical professions and mental/psychological illnesses, along with if you want a short read. I actually might pick up more of his works,
...more
Jill Elizabeth
May 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a fascinating, horrifying journey into one man's head - and an illustrious head at that! Simon Winchester's biographical essay about his experiences trapped inside his own brain was an interesting read - and this is the second time I've read it. I really enjoyed the new foreward, tying the existential angst he experienced as a young man to that experienced by so many in these unusual times. He really has a marvelous ability to tell stories - his own and those of other people/events - and if ...more
LindaMoctez
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love Simon Winchester's work! The Professor and the Madman was one of the best books I've ever read in my life. This one doesn't come close, but it is a totally different genre. Here he relates a real life experience of mental trauma and his subsequent treatment. He is understated, clear and non judgemental about himself and his series of treatments, making the reader seriously engaged in his process. It's a short and precise read and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the workings ...more
Helfren Filex
May 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help
The book shows the discovery of the author and the conditions of his brain which eventually need an unknown procedure called electric therapy. By stimulating the brain with current, can help to reboot the brain from the disorder problem that the patient suffer.

The therapy is barely known back then in the 80s and the story that ensues the author suffering and recovery is unfathomable for reader.
Paul Whitla
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Short, but true, autobiographical story of how the writer developed some form of mental illness in his youth and was treated for it, nd cured, by electro-convulsive therapy.

Only 30m-ages or so long so more of a long magazine read, but good on him for that, many authors feel the need to spin out the full 300 obligatory pages.

Well written and engrossing.
Khiah
Jul 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick look into the author's strange experience. Enjoyable to me because I like looking into people's lives and also because malfunctions of the brain always offer a fascinating and intimate view into both science and lives lived.
Chantelly Low
May 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
*3.5 stars*
Interesting. Makes me want to do a lot more research on ECT.
Adam
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: listened
Interesting story about innerworkings. It’s like somebody describing a drug effects - dissociation, you look at things and you dont know their meanings, words etc.
Sarah Blake
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
If this book had been longer I probably wouldn’t have finished it. The writing style seemed oddly detached even though it was the author’s personal story.
Stephen Embry
Nov 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The best writing is often autobiographical, at it roots if not its genre. Simon Winchester certainly is included in my pantheon of best writers,and this small booklet reveals some of the foundations for his success. Strangely enough it is the story of adolescent melancholy, and its treatment. Common enough story, but told as only Winchester can do it, and there by telling us much about the source of his style and success. The story is simple, one day while in college Mr. Winchester woke up in a ...more
Colleen
Aug 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2013
It takes a tremendous amount of courage to write something like this; most people who don't suffer from any kind of mental illness don't understand just how debilitating mood and personality disorders can be. While I admire Winchester for writing about an illness that is still stigmatized nearly fifty years after the events he recounts (though clearly not as much as in the 1960s), I give this mini-memoir a fairly low rating because of the writing itself. As a fan of The Professor and the Madman, ...more
Jen Hirt
Sep 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I guess I've inhaled the "Kindle Single" juice, because I'm suddenly buying these little 30-40 page publications and loving them. I was already a fan of Winchester and knew of his writings about madness, so this extended personal essay about his own mental disorder from this 20s (and his electroshock therapy) was engrossing and strange. The bit where he is contemplating suicide on a glacier is extraordinary. (Also extraordinary is his college education at Oxford, where everyone was expected to g ...more
Kent Winward
Sep 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Winchester's short memoir/essay (memsay? essoir?) on his brush with madness and electroshock therapy was interesting in its simplicity. Treatment for mental health issues 50 years ago has certainly changed over time. Why electroshock can work is something that should be examined and explained, but it seems like a crude instrument in light of the advances that have been made in neuroscience.

The most enlightening part of this little essay is that Winchester had to wait until his parents had passe
...more
Karen
Sep 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mental-illness
This was a thoroughly enjoyable biographical memoir of a strange episode of mental illness the author suffered half a century ago. A sudden descent into melancholy, with disturbing visual and physical manifestations that incapacitated this award winning author in his youth. It is a quick read, but will leave you thinking about how we diagnose and treat maladies of mood and madness. I enjoy his writing style, and have read his previous works including the excellent Isaac's Storm. If you are intri ...more
Tall Samm Lim
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A memoir about Simon Winchester's own affliction with melancholia.
I was enthralled from the beginning when he most beautifully described the idea of sliding calmly into a crevasse. His poignant and very British words emphasized the fact that there is no shame in suffering any human condition. Our gifts to society come from the pain of living.
Winchester's writing is brilliant. Just reading his prose will help your own writing. His clarity and brilliant use of narrative doesn't get any better. He
...more
Norman
Dec 31, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Brave Look At Madness.

In The Man With The Electrified Brain, The author looks back into his history to examine a time when he struggled with madness. Although it is brief, it is precise and honest. One gets the sense that the author is looking to finally put this period of his life to rest
Jo Anne
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a fan of Simon Winchester and a sufferer of severe anxiety and depression, I was interested in what he had to say about his experiences. He had electro-shock therapy, which helped. I have been considering it, although my psychiatrist says no, as does the insurance company. Interesting read and nice to know I'm not alone with my odd mental feelings.
Jennifer
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thought this was interesting. Having experienced the psych field in action, I can attest to the fact that sometimes the drs only want to diagnose what is going to make them the most money. Very few drs out there who want what is best for the patient.
Alicia Fox
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Not What I Expected

I randomly selected this, and was surprised to find myself reading a memoir on the effective use of electroshock therapy. It's well worth the short time it takes to read.
Joe
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
a good historical discussion from a personal perspective. fascinating and illuminating on the suffering that is hidden from the rest of us in 'the real world'.
Jeanne
Nov 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
An interesting memoir of an episode that happened to this author nearly 50 years ago and how unconventional treatment worked for him.
Todd Jones
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
A short read, but it details the authors ailment thoroughly. His descriptions sound terrifying - both the mental illness and the ECT treatment used to cure it.
Kathy
Dec 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
First person description of a very frightening event through which this author lived and survived.
Marianne Weber
Dec 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nf-psychology
Interesting and slightly scary look into a very personal experience of one of my favorite writers. It really shows how far mental illness studies have come but also how far we need to go.
M
Dec 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
inconsistent and written in a pompous style. not very informative or interest ing.
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Simon Winchester, OBE, is a British writer, journalist and broadcaster who resides in the United States. Through his career at The Guardian, Winchester covered numerous significant events including Bloody Sunday and the Watergate Scandal. As an author, Simon Winchester has written or contributed to over a dozen nonfiction books and authored one novel, and his articles appear in several travel publ ...more

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