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The publication of A Mind That Found Itself did for the American ...
The publication of A Mind That Found Itself did for the American mental health movement what Thomas Paine's Common Sense did for the American Revolution. Moreover, it grips the imagination of readers not because it is a document of social reform but because it is a superb narrative. As the distinguished psychiatrist and writer Robert Coles has noted, the book provides the virtues of clinical analysis, as well as personal reminiscence, all rendered with a novelists eye for the particular, for emotional nuance, for chronological progression. . . . Steadily, forthrightly, we come in touch with the nature of delusions and hallucinations: the complex, symbolically charged, nightmarish world of fear, suspicion, irritability and truculence.
Recovered from his illness, Beers began a lifelong crusade, through the National Committee for Mental Hygiene and the American Foundation for Mental Hygiene, to revolutionize the care and treatment of the mentally ill. The persuasive chronicler of mental illness became a sophisticated, pragmatic organizer and reformer.
A Mind That Found Itself is Beer's personal history of a mental civil war which he fought single-handed on a battlefield that lay within the compass of his skull. It was first published in 1908 but remains compelling and clinically accurate-an unforgettable reading experience.