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on 11 September 2011
Mark Stevens delivers a relatively well-written and researched exploration of life in Broadmoor in late-Victorian England. This book offers an insight into daily life inside the asylum and of the patients, inmates, and professionals for whom Broadmoor became such an important part of their lives. Common perceptions of the asylum system are often influenced by narrow and prescriptive interpretations of 'lunacy' and its 'treatments' during this period, and this text offers a more objective interpretation of events, whilst at the same time giving some 'flesh' to the personalities at work. The book is written in a sympathetic manner, devoid of sensationalism and overt subjectivity. There are some minor typos, and I did feel that the chapter on escape attempts was overlong; I would have preferred further insight into routines and institutional hierarchies, and perhaps further examination of some more of Broadmoor's inmates. However, this was an informative piece of good research, which was accessible and educational.
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on 1 June 2017
I love all things macabre and factual. With this being about a well known asylum and its history I expected some gruesome tales about its prisoners but I didn't get it. We get basic details about crimes committed but more about the evolution of the asylum due to its escapees. All in all a decent read, quite interesting
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on 12 May 2012
Prisons and crime interest me, as does the victorian period, so this book seemed like a perfect read. The author writes simply yet manages to pack in plenty of information without waffling on endlessly. I was not disappointed in this book, it was interesting and a pleasure to read. I only wish he could have included more stories about the individuals housed at Broadmoor as I could have easily kept reading! I would also like to read about how the place changed over the following decades......perhaps he could work on that for a sequel!!!
So, if victorians, crime and loonies appeal to you then this is the book for you!!!!!
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on 1 April 2012
This is well researched and gives an interesting insight into Victorian lunatic asylums and attitudes towards the criminally insane at that time.

Taken from case notes and archive material, it helps highlight the difference in treatments and techniques, although I would prefer a little more depth to the information given.

Sympathetically written, it provides some compelling information about some inmates and staff.

I hope further historical information about Broadmoor will be collated by the author - this has been well worth the read and gives an excellent depiction of how institutions used to be.
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on 16 March 2016
If you are interested in social history this book about Broadmoor, and a little about mental heath through the years,will go a long way to aid your understanding of the subject of mental illness and 'Asylums'. A really good read too.
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on 14 November 2016
Quite an interesting read. If a little heavy in places. Great to get the back story to the most famous hospital in the world.
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on 13 January 2017
Very interesting and insightful good insight into the different patients that entered Boardmoor hospital. Great for history or crime buffs.
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on 21 May 2012
This looks at several different aspects of Victorian Broadmoor, some interesting case histories, the early years and how and why it evolved, security, the fate of children born there, what sort of people ended up there and different categories of prisoner. A really interesting piece of social history
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on 15 April 2012
I have a relative, a patient in one of these places, so this read was a must for me. In it's way, it wasa very informative, although there was always an air of sadness within. Todays standards have not changed all that much, the buildings are more comfortable, the treatment, more humane, but the quest for a 'cure' is still ongoing. A good read for those of an inquisitive mind!
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on 22 October 2011
My main quarrel with this book was that it was so short. I would have liked to have some more detail about some of the people in Broadmoor at the time. While the book gives an outline of some of their crimes and misdemeanours, I would be interested to delve further into their minds.
However, it was a really interesting read and gave an indication of the different types of people in Broadmoor at the time and their different ways of life while they were in there. I am definitely interested to do some more research into some of the people mentioned within this book!
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