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on 17 April 2012
Andrew Scull approaches an enormous and compelling subject with remarkable clarity and concision without ever slipping into perfunctory analysis. That he is a leading scholar in the history and sociology of mental illness is immediately apparent, yet his account is wonderfully accessible and engaging for all. He is adroit in his articulation of the many paradigmatic shifts that have occurred in the understanding and treatment of mental illness. Nor is this a Whiggish account of uniform progress. He is appropriately robust in his handling of the pseudo-scientific Freudian mumbo-jumbo that engulfed psychology and psychiatry for far too long. The current hegemony of pharmacological approaches is also treated to a far from eulogic assessment. Perhaps the most appealing quality of Andrew Scull's excellent book is that it is mercifully free from the jargon and depressingly mechanistic theory-laden approaches that have frequently infected studies in the history of medicine.
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on 28 September 2015
While this contains some interesting facts and images, Scull's very short introduction to madness is maddeningly adjective - not content with giving us the facts, he jerks us about all over the place with directions concerning how we should interpret the data: how to interpret the data like him. Not being Scull, this was of little use to me, and just elicited frown after increasingly irritated frown. It would have been all very well had this been Scull on Madness - but an introduction, surely, ought to be an unbiased review of the facts (or an as unbiased as possible review of the facts). Like Lacan? Scull trashes him to bits. Have views of your own pretty much at all? Best hope they agree with Scull's, or it's going to be an uncomfortable ride.
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on 18 March 2012
I LOVE the Very Short Introductions - I am huge fan. But this time I am a little bit disappointed. I am not a native speaker but I use English on a daily basis, and this book was so difficult to read that I could actually not finish it. I was sitting with a dictionary next to me every time I started to read and breaking up my reading to look up half the words in a sentence made it impossible to actually enjoy it!. Apart from that, I expected something slightly more scientific, not historic, from this book. The historical account of Madness and how it was treated throughout the centuries, though very interesting, was a bit to much - it killed my curiosity about the subject pretty fast. I wanted to know something more about the actual mechanisms behind madness, why people get mad, what happens with their brain (if it is the reason for madness) or is the mind that gets distorted. I did not get an answer - at least it is not within the first 70 pages of the book. If you are not a native speaker - be prepared!
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on 26 October 2016
loved it
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on 9 December 2014
Very informative
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on 11 January 2016
Perfect!
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on 25 July 2015
Thanks
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on 15 November 2011
The item was received as described and promptly and was a very useful book, as our all the short intorudction books.
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