An Anatomy of Addiction: Sigmund Freud, William Halsted, and the Miracle Drug, Cocaineby Howard Markel
Pub. Date: 07/19/2011
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
From acclaimed medical historian Howard Markel, author of When Germs Travel, the astonishing account, told for the first time, of the decades- long cocaine use of Sigmund Freud and William Halsted. Markel writes of the physical and emotional damage caused by the constant use of the then- heralded wonder drug, and of how each man ultimately changed the world/i>… See more details below
From acclaimed medical historian Howard Markel, author of When Germs Travel, the astonishing account, told for the first time, of the decades- long cocaine use of Sigmund Freud and William Halsted. Markel writes of the physical and emotional damage caused by the constant use of the then- heralded wonder drug, and of how each man ultimately changed the world in spite of it—or because of it. One became the father of psychoanalysis; the other, of modern surgery.
Using themselves as subjects in their research—Freud experimented with cocaine as a means of treating depression, fatigue, and morphine addiction; Halsted, as a new and safe form of anesthesia—each became caught up in the drug’s grip, nearly destroying his life, and unwittingly becoming the first participants in the birth of modern addiction. The author traces, as well, the drug’s effects on the thoughts and pathfinding work of each man. Historians and biographers have ignored or glossed over the day-by-day archival and medical records of the chronic cocaine abuse of each doctor, as well as the psychological and physical darkness it brought them and their struggles to rid their lives of it. Howard Markel’s An Anatomy of Addiction tells the full story, long overlooked, in its rich historical context.
- Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.60(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations xiii
1 Young Freud 10
2 Young Halsted 32
3 Über Coca 46
4 An Addict's Death 66
5 The Accidental Addict 90
6 Cocaine Damnation 101
7 Sigmund in Paris 114
8 Rehabilitating Halsted 130
9 The Interpretation of Dreams 154
10 "The Professor" 187
11 Dr. Freud's Coca Coda 214
12 Dr. Halsted in Limbo 228
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I'd recommed this to any one interested in Addiction, Recovery, History of Medicine, and two formidable intellects, who brought Psychology and Medicine into the 20th century. Markel describes an era of Medicine very different from what we know today. He brings to life, in vivid detail, the horrors of medical care in the 19th century--and the men who transformed it. I learned much about the modest and unexpected origins of many of the medical procedures we now take for granted--sterile surgery, humane treatments for mental illness, surgical gloves, anasthesia. He also explores many odd fringe ideas in medical history. I especially enjoyed his explanation of Fliess' Nasal Theory, linking most health problems to the state of the nose. At the center is the disease of Addiction. A devious, deadly, and destructive disease, which caught even brilliant Doctors and succesful leaders by surprise. Markel shares many insights into the nature of Addiction and Recovery, before 12-step Programs, and "Celebrity Rehab". His observations on Addiction and Recovey are true more than ever today. Although he is not mentioned in this book, I was reminded of the character, Dr. House, on the TV series "House". Freud and Halsted could have been the real-life inspiration for Dr. House's character--an amazing combination of flaws, addiction, and genius.
I was expecting a more scholarly work . . . Markel is blatantly agenda-driven, and the book's level of writing and thought is pretty middlebrow. He's going for the sensational/scandalous aspects of the story rather than a reasoned and contextual examination. The work is of little value to anyone with some knowledge of this aspect of Freud's career.