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All in the Mind [Paperback]

Alastair Campbell
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
Price: 7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

2 April 2009

Martin Sturrock desperately needs a psychiatrist. The problem? He is one.

Emily is a traumatised burns victim, Arta a Kosovan refugee recovering from a rape. David Temple is a longterm depressive, while the Rt Hon Ralph Hall MP lives in terror of his drink problem being exposed. Very different Londoners, but they share one thing: every week they spend an hour at the Prince Regent hospital, revealing the secrets of their psyche to Professor Martin Sturrock. Little do they know that Sturrock's own mind is not the reassuring place they believe it to be. For years he has hidden in his work, ignoring his demons. But now his life is falling apart, and as his ghosts come back to haunt him, the only person he can turn to is a patient.

Set over a life-changing weekend, Alastair Campbell's astonishing first novel delves deep into the human mind to create a gripping portrait of the strange dependency between patient and doctor. Both a comedy and tragedy of ordinary lives, it is rich in compassion for those whose days are spent on the edge of the abyss.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (2 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099528029
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099528029
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alastair Campbell was born in Keighley, Yorkshire in 1957, the son of a vet. Having graduated from Cambridge University in modern languages, he went into journalism, principally with the Mirror Group. When Tony Blair became leader of the Labour Party, Campbell worked for him first as press secretary, then as official spokesman and director of communications and strategy from 1994 to 2003. He continued to act as an advisor to Mr Blair and the Labour Party, including during the 2005 election campaign. Since then, he has been engaged mainly in writing, public speaking and working for Leukaemia Research, where he is chairman of fundraising.

Product Description


"A sympathetic foray into mental instability ... Campbell's own experience of breakdown brings an intensity to Sturrock's decline" (Financial Times)

"A serious subject adddressed with compassion, intelligence and sensitivity ... this is an emotionally engaging and thought-provoking book" (The Times)

"Extremely absorbing, moving and compassionate portrayal of ordinary human beings exhibiting extraordinary courage in challenging circumstances ... If Campbell writes more novels, I'll certainly read them" (The Independent)

"Campbell has written a highly sensitive novel ... A moving account of people's suffering and search for help" (Dr David Sturgeon, University College London Hospital The Guardian)

"An extraordinarily open and brave novel about weakness. Or, more accurately, humility ... its power comes from a clearly articulated insight into the darker workings of the human mind and the complex nature of mental health" (The Mirror)


'One of the few books that has brought me close to tears in places, yet it is surprisingly uplifting and often very funny' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensitive and amusing, a very good read 11 Feb 2009
To be honest I've never liked Alastair Campbell. But I'm not interested in the author, I'm reviewing the book.

Also, for the record, I'm Bipolar 1.

At times the book made me laugh outload, and at other times you can't help feel a strong connection to the characters who are having a bad time.
I found the end of the book uplifting, and it has made me see the people in the mental health services in a more positive light.

This book should be compulsory reading for those who secretly think that depressives are just 'weak people', and come out with stupid phrases like 'pull yoursel together'. Intelligent people will enjoy it too.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
As a person that has suffered depression in the past and as someone that treats clients that are currently battling their way through mental health issues, I found this book to be a fascinating insight into the world of sufferers and into the potential problems that the professionals that treat them may obtain through their working life.

For me the book was excellent and somewhat important. You see, as a therapist one of the challenges in treating people with depression, is the way that people react to their illnesses (sometimes not even seeing them as ill at all, but attention seeking). For far too long many people have been misunderstood when they convey to friends and family that they are suffering from a mental health issue such as depression. This book would certainly help to educate those friends and family members that are willing to be open minded and to learn.

All of the story lines from the various characters were handled with respect and where delivered very interestingly.

I am looking forward to this becoming a film on the small screen sometime in the future and awaiting eagerly the announcement of Campbell's next novel.

I would be interested to hear the views of other therapists or sufferers of mental health issues on this book.


Richard MacKenzie
Author of Self-Change Hypnosis
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and moving. 25 May 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book; the first for a long time that has kept me up at night wanting to know what happens next. The characters lingered on in my head long after I had finished reading which to me is the sign of a good novel.

As a psychotherapist myself, I think Alastair Campbell has enormous insight into the vulnerability and fragility that can exist side by side, no doubt influencing and enhancing a therapist's work. Dr Sturrock is very much a wounded healer, loved and respected by his patients, but with his own angels and demons.

The patients are described vividly in all their humanity and ring true as people.

I think Alastair Campbell has used his own experience of depression in a very creative way. I hope he wil write some more fiction basd on fact. I for one will be eager to read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eloquent portrayal of depression 10 Sep 2012
I picked this up because my friend, Meg, pressed it upon me, and because I've already read Campbell's "The Happy Depressive" and was interested to read his novel on the subject. I was not disappointed. Martin Sturrock is a top psychiatrist, entrusted with the care of a range of people, from a Kosovan refugee to a Cabinet Minister, and his favourite patient, David, who expresses his own and Martin's depression in a way that is both lyrical and precise.

Over the course of a long weekend, several lives appear to start to unravel, including Sturrock's own, spiralling into boundaries being overstepped in a variety of ways, both positive and negative. Thoughtful, very perceptive about men's and women's experiences, and with a surprise denouement that is part of a schema or process of surprises that leave the book with a hopeful and positive ending, notwithstanding the somewhat brutal events along the way.

Recommended, especially for the eloquent portrayal of depression.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 1 Dec 2009
Just finished reading this book late at night - couldnt not find out how things turned out. I am not afraid to admit that I was blubbing by the end and didnt want to wake up the wife! A very honest and powerful account of mental illness, the role of helpers, and the bittersweet nature of life. Religion/spirituality seemed to feature quite highly at the end - I wondered what Alistair's own experience was? I would recommend this as a novel in its own right, plus also great insight into issues of the mind, and how they can be so arresting. Look forward to a further book - though I would struggle to see how it can be added to - after all, its not like Andy McNab type stuff. I expect that it was a one off book but one that Mr Campbell can be very proud of. He may not be perfect, but i think he shows humility. He certainly understands humility to describe it as he did. Bravo!!!!!!!!
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31 of 40 people found the following review helpful
The former spin-doctor for the Labour government and writer of the generally well-received work of non-fiction THE BLAIR YEARS now turns his hand to writing a novel for the first time, and in doing so reveals some of the vices of his own past in a story that has acknowledged adaptations of autobiographical events. Drawing on personal experiences of depression and alcoholic addiction, All in the Mind explores mental illness and alcoholism by way of a cast of a psychiatrist and six of his patients spread over a period of just four days. Central character Professor Martin Sturrock harbours secrets of his own and it emerges that he is as desperate for help as his patients, one of whom is a politician with drinking problems and another is someone who has a psychotic breakdown similar to an experience the author suffered some twenty years ago.

Cynics might argue that this is not in fact Campbell's first stab at fiction and that he should be credited with the infamous `dodgey dossier' of 2003 that led to the invasion of Iraq, even if he was later officially exonerated. This new novel won't attract any allegations of scandalous untruth made against it, and while it feels authentic - the author having experienced most of these personal problems directly or indirectly - there is something of a dramatic void with regard to the narration and the reader might sense that Campbell could have dropped to deeper and darker depths of his soul in describing the stresses that the various characters endure. In his own life he has presumably come out of the darkness and up into the light a survivor, and possibly as a consequence the general flavour of the story is not the one of hopelessness or despair that might otherwise have tugged more passionately at the reader's heartstrings.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars forget who wrote it this is good
Right, forget everything you know of the author as a spin doctor and political figure. This book provides a good insight into mental illhealth whilst also being a damn good read.
Published 3 months ago by Rob Botting
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and thought provoking
Psychologists bear our burdens, but in turn they sacrifice a part of their own sanity. Campbell provides an interesting insight into the mind of not just the many patients, but... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Elena
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasent surprise - nice hard back found in charity shop

Cover 4/5 Title, Author's name as an attractor and ghostly face ... yes a good cover. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Alexander Kreator
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Really enjoyed reading this book in as much as one can enjoy a book this dark. Would recommend to anyone interested in psychology/psychiatry.
Published 5 months ago by rhiannon
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and true
I was a bit hesitant about reading this book. As someone with experience of depression, I wasn't sure if I would find the story a little uncomfortable to read. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mrs. V. L. Owens
5.0 out of 5 stars Who's healing who
Great insight, felt I knew the patients and their families, tear jerking end, will read more of Mr Campbell's books
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Just brilliant.
A really good read. Brought me to tears
at the final twist.

You never know what goes on behind the eyes.

Who cares for the carers?
Published 7 months ago by Bob
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading
Don't let your personal opinion of A. Campbell put you off reading his books. Alastair writes well and seems to know the humans and their many flaws. Read more
Published 9 months ago by A. Ll
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
I really enjoyed this book. All of the patients are interesting and you're eager to find out what is happening with each of them. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ms Linda John
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
This book was very sad, and made you think about not only the patients with mental illness but the people who treat them. Read more
Published 9 months ago by J A MCHUGH
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