Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Mad Worlds: A Tale of Despair and Hope in 1950s England” as Want to Read:
Mad Worlds: A Tale of Despair and Hope in 1950s England
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Mad Worlds: A Tale of Despair and Hope in 1950s England

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  7 ratings  ·  6 reviews
This 80,000-word novel follows two main characters:

Young teacher John Chisholm, who is haunted by a past tragedy and believes his wife no longer loves him, is stressed to near-breakdown. He is forcibly removed to a harsh mental institution, Springwell, where he is certified and detained indefinitely. He endures and witnesses abuses – some in the name of treatment – and
Paperback, 256 pages
Published 2014 by Matador
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Mad Worlds, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Mad Worlds

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-16
Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  7 ratings  ·  6 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Mad Worlds: A Tale of Despair and Hope in 1950s England
Christoph Fischer
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“Mad Worlds: A Tale of Despair and Hope in 1950s England” by Bill Douglas is a very memorable and emotional read about mental health care in Britain during the 1950ies. It tackles an important and difficult subject and handles it very well with believable characters and excellently researched details.
We witness teacher John Chisholm and his life in the Springwell Mental Institution while his wife Heather has to continue life on the outside, with many problems and tough choices to make of her
Feb 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
In 1950's England, mental illness was misunderstood. In Mad Worlds, author Bill Douglas delves deep into many of the philosophies and treatments asylum inmates were subjected to. The novel begins with a young teacher named John Chisholm whose emotional breakdown lands him in a mental institution. From there, things go from bad to worse. The story becomes dark, sometimes hopeless, sometimes shocking. It is a portrayal of a how miserable and difficult life could be for those who suffered from a ...more
Billy Buttons
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was entered in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. This is what our readers thought:

Title: Mad Worlds: A Tale of Despair and Hope in 1950s England
Author: Bill Douglas
Star Rating: 3.5 Stars
Number of Readers: 15
Editing: 9/10
Style: 9/10
Content: 8/10
Cover: 3/10
Of the 15 readers:
12 would read another book by this author.
3 thought the cover was excellent.
10 felt the pacing was excellent.
10 felt the best part of the book was the writing style.
5 felt the setting was the best part of the book.

Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I picked it up when at a conference for The Samaritans. Took me a bit to get into it due to the language but there is an introductory note that states the author has used the kind of language that was around in the 50s. After getting over that I really enjoyed it. Its heartbreaking to read that just 60 years ago, people with mental health issues were treated so brutally, but it's also important to see how far mental health care had come along.
The story of John and
Dec 16, 2014 rated it liked it
I wanted to really like Mad Worlds. The subject matter is incredibly interesting (and terrifying) and John Chisholm, the main character, is quite likeable and sympathetic. However, the other characters are incredibly broad and seem to fulfill quotas - the kind nurse, the particularly evil charge nurse with an authority figure in his back pocket and his infuriatingly bland, but highly sexualized, wife. I gave the narrative and its meandering ways the benefit of the doubt as it lent itself well to ...more
A moving account of how treatment of mental illness could affect not only the mentally ill but their families in the '50s. A gripping read and a book which makes me wonder if mental health treatment today, though different, is any better.
Laura Anders
rated it liked it
Jan 25, 2015
rated it really liked it
Dec 29, 2014
marked it as to-read
Nov 06, 2014
marked it as to-read
Nov 21, 2014
marked it as to-read
Nov 21, 2014
marked it as to-read
Nov 28, 2014
Karen Klein
marked it as to-read
Dec 03, 2014
added it
Nov 08, 2015
is currently reading it
Aug 17, 2017
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Stuff is Authentic ! 2 3 Jan 17, 2016 08:50AM