Bedlam: London and its Mad Paperback – 6 Aug 2009
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Bedlam's history is a horrifying tale swimming with chains and straitjackets, ice baths and purging, bleeding and starvation, mania and despair. Arnold draws the reader through the years from Bedlam's conception, into different locations and grand buildings, through the reigns of monarch after monarch. Doctors and superintendents come and go, treatments fluctuate and metamorphose, knowledge grows and changes for the better... eventually. Through the sweep of Bedlam's history, Arnold has included the stories of some of the saddest, quirkiest and most notorious patients to haunt its cells, as well as extending her research to offer the reader a wider historical context and a broader look at the treatment of madness across the country. There is also an interesting chapter on mad women as a cultural construct, including a look at Miss Havisham and Bertha Mason as literary representations of contemporary stereotypes.
As a manic depressive, all I can say is, thank heavens I'm not living my life any time but now. Right up the mid-20th century, people suffering from mental illness have been 'treated' with a host of remedies from the ridiculous to the barbaric to, just occasionally, the hopeful and enlightened. I found this book by turns sad, wry, mind-boggling, thoughtful and plain horrific.Read more ›
For those interested in the history of this period it is a good read, even with the context of the book in the details surrounding Bedlam at this time.
As far as the content goes, I found the book (what I read of it before getting annoyed by the lack of images)quite readable, but with too many "might haves" in it. For example, Shakespeare "may have" been inspired by a visit to Bedlam. Anne Boleyn "may well have" taken a walk in the grounds. It's all pure speculation, and while I understand it's an attempt to contextualise the time frames being written about, I found this unfounded guesswork quite irritating.
Anyway, like I said, my main issue is specifically with the Kindle edition. It's more expensive than the print edition, yet is missing all of the images. It might seem like a minor fault, but this should be pointed out before people buy the product. Frankly, I refuse to pay more for less.
It did a grand job of packing a lot into a relatively small volume. We read about social norms, politics, philosophy and medicine and how each impacted on the work of the asylum. Of course the case histories of some of the inmates are the most moving and informative parts of the book, but the author manages not to sensationalise or sentimentalise them.
She is also not too judgemental about the past treatments of residents. Each era is set in the context of attitudes and medical practice of the time.The last chapter could have said more, as sadly mental health services are not in a state of improvement, but maybe this was outside the remit of this particular book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A short paperback book, which is, in my opinion, slightly misnamed. The history of the Bethlem Royal Hospital is there; but it goes and comes and is frequently interspersed by... Read morePublished 16 days ago by Kernow13
Another unnecessary and derivative work based largely on O'Donoghue's 1914 history of Bethlehem Hospital. There is little new in Arnold's volume. Read O'Donoghue and not thisPublished 1 month ago by Samuel Romilly
A rather sad book about the way mental patients were treated. At least there have been many improvements as some of the old treatments were dreadfulPublished 3 months ago by Janey Noble
I have not had chance to examine this fully - what I have seen looks extremely goodPublished 4 months ago by VANT One Name Study
I've never written a review for Amazon before, but felt compelled to write one now, to try to counter the seemingly odd high reviews this book is getting. Read morePublished 5 months ago by markNbrandon
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Health, Family & Lifestyle > Psychology & Psychiatry > History & Philosophy
- Books > Health, Family & Lifestyle > Psychology & Psychiatry > Pathological Psychology
- Books > History > Britain & Ireland
- Books > History > Cultural History > London
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences