The History of Bethlem Hardcover – 9 Oct 1997
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"A must-have for the historian of psychiatry."-"Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences "Stunning. At last Bethlem has the comprehensive history it deserves, firmly grounded in a wider social and political context. With a deft touch the authors have unpicked the tapestry of myth and misconception surrounding Bethlem, to reveal the intricate twists and turns of its various existences. Psychiatric historiography has been considerably enriched."-Nick Hervey, co-author of "Masters of Bedlam
Now 750 years old, Bethlem Hospital has been continuously involved in the care of the mentally ill since at least 1400 - as such it has a strong claim to be the oldest foundation in Europe with an unbroken history of sheltering and treating the mentally disturbed. This text examines Bethlem's role within the caring institutions of London and Britain and its place in the history of psychiatry. Bethlem is not simply Europe's oldest psychiatric establishment; it is the most famous and the most notorious. It has assumed many guises over its 750 year history, it began as a religious foundation in the context of the Crusades. It became a hospital for the insane by accident, survived complex battles between Crown and Papacy, Parliament and the Corporation of the City of London, and gained great prominence for many years as Britain's only lunatic asylum. The name of Bethlem has actually turned into everyday speech and become part of a national culture. From Shakespeare's time, "Bedlam" was becoming detached from the institution and assuming a life and a persona.
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31 July 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
My wife has wanted this book for a number of years and I managed to get a copy in every bit as good condition as the ad said. She is delighted, I am delighted and she will have many hours of reading and referincing ahead of her!
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Amazon.com: 1 reviews
K. C. Dolan
comprehensive, detailed history of controversial institution
20 May 2011 - Published on Amazon.com
2 people found this helpful.
I obtained this book through an inter-library loan when I was researching my first Regency novel, so I admit I have only read a portion of the detailed, lengthy volume. But the sections I read seemed excellent. They gave a straightforward, unbiased account of the institution, without trying to either cover up or make excuses for faults or exaggerate those faults to make a more poignant or exciting account. The sections I read made frequent, documented reference to primary source records and contained numerous quotations. At the same time, the writing is clear, flows well and is easy to read. In short, I believe they struck a great balance between a scholarly treatise and a popular history book, uniting the best elements of both.