Mad In America by Robert Whitaker
Bad Science, Bad Medicine, And The Enduring Mistreatment Of The Mentally Ill

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Schizophrenics in the United States currently fare worse than patients in the world’s poorest countries. In Mad in America, medical journalist Robert Whitaker argues that modern treatments for the severely mentally ill are just old medicine in new bottles, and that we as a society are deeply deluded about their efficacy. The widespread use of lobotomies in the 1920s and 1930s gave way in the 1950s to electroshock and a wave of new drugs. In what is perhaps Whitaker’s most damning revelation, Mad in America examines how drug companies in the 1980s and 1990s skewed their studies to prove that new antipsychotic drugs were more effective than the old, while keeping patients in the dark about dangerous side effects.

A haunting, deeply compassionate book—now revised with a new introduction—Mad in America raises important questions about our obligations to the mad, the meaning of “insanity,” and what we value most about the human mind.


About Robert Whitaker

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Robert Whitaker is a science journalist and the author of Mad In America. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Published April 17, 2010 by Basic Books. 370 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Political & Social Sciences, Professional & Technical, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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He recounts how the 18th-century European view that the mentally ill were beasts to be subdued and tamed led to fearfully harsh treatment, whereas in the early 19th century, the Quaker perspective that the mentally ill were fellow human beings deserving of empathy, resulted in humane therapy emph...

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Publishers Weekly

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Though it covers some of the same territory as Sander Gilman's Seeing the Insane and Elaine Showalter's The Female Malady, Whitaker's richer, more detailed book will appeal to those interested in medical history, as well as anyone fascinated by Western culture's obsessive need to define and subd...

Jan 07 2002 | Read Full Review of Mad In America: Bad Science, ...

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