Menninger: The Family and the Clinic

Menninger: The Family and the Clinic

by Lawrence J. Friedman
     
 

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The story of the Menninger Clinic is the story of the Menninger family. The two cannot be separated, according to historian Lawrence Friedman, for one cannot be understood without the other.

Friedman should know. He is the only scholar granted full, unrestricted access to the Menninger archives and the personal papers of founder Karl and Will Menninger. In this

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Overview

The story of the Menninger Clinic is the story of the Menninger family. The two cannot be separated, according to historian Lawrence Friedman, for one cannot be understood without the other.

Friedman should know. He is the only scholar granted full, unrestricted access to the Menninger archives and the personal papers of founder Karl and Will Menninger. In this study of the Menningers and their clinic, Friedman lifts the public relations veil to reveal the story behind the public success: the reciprocal influence of the family upon the clinic and the clinic upon the family.

Friedman has taken extraordinary time and care in researching this study. The resulting book is neither exposé nor hagiography. Nor is it a narrow institutional history. It is, instead, a finely wrought historical study based upon a decade of research in more than a dozen archives, including the vast Menninger archive.

Menninger is the first study of a major American psychiatric center based on full, unrestricted access to archival materials. It also incorporates information gleaned from extensive interviews with members of the Menninger family as well as interviews with more than one hundred people important in the clinic's history. Not only does Friedman examine the dynamics of the Menninger family close up, but he also steps back for a larger view of the Menningers' role in the history of psychiatry.

Author Biography: Lawrence Friedman, Distinguished University Professor of History at Bowling Green State University, is author of Gregarious Saints: Self and Community in American Abolitionism, Inventors of the Promised Land, and The White Savage: Racial Fantasies in the Postbellum South.

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Editorial Reviews

Buffalo News
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 readable—and at times lurid—saga of psychiatry's own 'first family.' Wife-swapping, revenge, blackmail, it's all here.
Harper's Magazine
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)
Library Journal
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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780394535692
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/19/1990
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
472

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