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Madhouse: A Tragic Tale of Megalomania and…
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Madhouse: A Tragic Tale of Megalomania and Modern Medicine (2005)

by Andrew Scull

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An absolutely fascinating subject. The author is clearly well-versed and a good researcher and writer. But he does not, alas, know how to tell a story. So this book quickly becomes bogged down; it's dry and suffocating in history and implications and theories rather than focusing on lives and human beings. It should capture our attention and move us to tears, because the subject is so horrifying, but instead most readers will find themselves skimming pages. ( )
  Eliz12 | Sep 28, 2013 |
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The rain that arrived before daybreak on Wednesday, August 5, 1925, finally brought a measure of relief from the sweltering heat and humidity of an all-too-typical New Jersey summer. (Prologue)
Who can envy the fate of the mad and the mopish, the distracted and the deranged, the delusional and the troubled in mind? (Chapter 1, "No Bughouse Doctor")
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0300126700, Paperback)

Madhouse reveals a long-suppressed medical scandal, shocking in its brutality and sobering in its implications. It shows how a leading American psychiatrist of the early twentieth century came to believe that mental illnesses were the product of chronic infections that poisoned the brain. Convinced that he had uncovered the single source of psychosis, Henry Cotton, superintendent of the Trenton State Hospital, New Jersey, launched a ruthless campaign to “eliminate the perils of pus infection.” Teeth were pulled, tonsils excised, and stomachs, spleens, colons, and uteruses were all sacrificed in the assault on “focal sepsis.”

Many patients did not survive Cotton’s surgeries; thousands more were left mangled and maimed. Cotton’s work was controversial, yet none of his colleagues questioned his experimental practices. Subsequent historians and psychiatrists too have ignored the events that cast doubt on their favorite narratives of scientific and humanitarian progress.

In a remarkable feat of historical detective work, Andrew Scull exposes the full, frightening story of madness among the mad-doctors. Drawing on a wealth of documents and interviews, he reconstructs in vivid detail a nightmarish, cautionary chapter in modern psychiatry when professionals failed to police themselves.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:43 -0400)

"Madhouse reveals a long-suppressed medical scandal, shocking in its brutality and sobering in its implications. It shows how a leading American psychiatrist of the early twentieth century came to believe that mental illnesses were the product of chronic infections that poisoned the brain. Convinced that he had uncovered the single source of psychosis, Henry Cotton, superintendent of the Trenton State Hospital, New Jersey, launched a ruthless campaign to "eliminate the perils of pus infection." Teeth were pulled, tonsils excised, stomachs, spleens, colons, and uteruses were all sacrificed in the assault on "focal sepsis."" "Many patients did not survive Cotton's surgeries; thousands more were left mangled and maimed. Cotton's work was controversial, yet none of his colleagues questioned his experimental practices. Subsequent historians and psychiatrists, too, have ignored the events that cast doubt on their favourite narratives of scientific and humanitarian progress.". "Andrew Scull exposes the full, frightening story of madness among the mad-doctors. Drawing on a wealth of documents and interviews, he reconstructs a nightmarish, cautionary chapter in modern psychiatry, when professionals failed to police themselves."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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Yale University Press

2 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300107293, 0300126700

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