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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Harry Prosen, MD, MSc (Medical College of Wisconsin)
Description: This book gathers together a diversity of views and descriptions of the history of psychiatry and the important historians themselves.
Purpose: The book was inspired by the meeting of 200 scholars gathered in the Netherlands in 1990 to share ideas about the history of the psychological sciences. The objectives are to explore the large number of complex interpretations and accounts of the history of psychiatry. The book is an unusual and stimulating contribution. It is the first significant approach of this kind.
Audience: The book is stated to be written for anyone interested in the science of the mind. It is extremely detailed, leaves very little out, and is probably a fascinating read, even for the lay public. The many authors are all noted scholars and authorities.
Features: The references are detailed and few. The book is well indexed and contains a good table of contents. The book is so full of information, tightly written, that a first glance does not reveal how quickly it reads.
Assessment: The book is as much a critique of previous historians as the history of psychiatry. It analyzes the views of previous authors and compares and contrasts various biographers of Freud and others. There is some overlap in the various chapters and some repetition, but the book is highly interesting and a pleasure to read.