Both a significant contribution to the history of American psychiatry and an engaging story of a remarkable, and eccentric, family.
Raleigh News and Observer
Dr. Friedman's powers of persuasion coaxed this remarkably closed institution into baring its secrets.
New York Times
Raises questions about the sensitivities and effectiveness of the Menningers themselves leading a clinic and dealing with other people.
Journal of American History
A readableand at times luridsaga of psychiatry's own 'first family.' Wife-swapping, revenge, blackmail, it's all here.
Friedman's account is remarkable for its restrained but candid editorial tone, meticulous documentation, and avoidance of sensationalism" (ISIS
Reviews in American History
A finely wrought and delicately balanced study. Sheds some much needed light on a wide variety of topics.
Kansas City Star
A definitive book of record about a dedicated family who created and operated an immensely influential mental health conglomerate.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a scholarly and absorbing family biography and history of the Menninger Foundation, perhaps the foremost U.S. psychiatric treatment, training and research center, Friedman ( Gregarious Saints ), Bowling Green State University (Ohio) history professor, focuses on the social and emotional links uniting family and institution. Examined in light of developments in contemporary medicine and world events--notably the huge toll of psychiatric casualities in World War II--much of the story revolves around the rivalry between Menninger brothers Karl and Will, and power struggles among staff members, many of them European-trained emigres who advocated diverse schools of mental therapy. Thanks to the unprecedented access to clinic and personal archives and interviews, Friedman traces the Foundation's evolution since 1909 from a family-run organization to a corporate entity, a transformation masterminded by Will's son Roy--who wants to see to it that the clinic regains its ``united front'' national eminence despite ongoing sibling and factional rivalries. Photos not seen by PW. Psychology Book Club alternate. (June)
Friedman (history, Bowling Green State Univ.) offers a detailed and very candid study of the Menninger Clinic and its founding family, both major influences on American psychiatry during the past 50 years. Relying on abundant documentation, Friedman provides surprising insights into several of the more charismatic family members and is especially informative about institutional governance and treatment issues and foundation politics. This is an authoritative history of growth and creativity in a major psychiatric treatment center and the intriguing intrafamilial conflicts and issues behind the scenes. It is important for students of organizational behavior and leadership in mental health settings. The Menninger Clinic's national renown should make it of interest to larger general collections as well.-- William Abrams, Portland State Univ. Lib., Ore.