Moonlight, Magnolias, and Madness: Insanity in South Carolina from the Colonial Period to the Progressive Era

Moonlight, Magnolias, and Madness: Insanity in South Carolina from the Colonial Period to the Progressive Era

by Peter McCandless
     
 

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Moonlight, Magnolias, and Madness is a social history of the perceptions and treatment of the mentally ill in South Carolina over two centuries. Examining insanity in both an institutional and a community context, Peter McCandless shows how policies and attitudes changed dramatically from the colonial era to the early twentieth century. He also sheds new

Overview

Moonlight, Magnolias, and Madness is a social history of the perceptions and treatment of the mentally ill in South Carolina over two centuries. Examining insanity in both an institutional and a community context, Peter McCandless shows how policies and attitudes changed dramatically from the colonial era to the early twentieth century. He also sheds new light on the ways sectionalism and race affected the plight of the insane in a state whose fortunes worsened markedly after the Civil War. Antebellum asylum reformers in the state were inspired by many of the same ideals as their northern counterparts, such as therapeutic optimism and moral treatment. But McCandless shows that treatment ideologies in South Carolina, which had a majority black population, were complicated by the issue of race, and that blacks received markedly inferior care. By re-creating the different experiences of the insane—black and white, inside the asylum and within the community—McCandless highlights the importance of regional variation in the treatment of mental illness.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The research upon which this book is based is exhaustive.

Journal of the Behavioral Sciences

Well-researched and engrossing.

American Historical Review

McCandless provides a good picture of the attitudes toward and treatments of the insane.

Choice

Historians of medicine and science will find this study extremely useful.

Isis

Impressively researched and clearly written. . . . An important contribution to medical, social, and southern history.

Gerald N. Grob, Rutgers University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807845585
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
03/04/1996
Edition description:
2
Pages:
424
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 9.00(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Historians of medicine and science will find this study extremely useful. Its great strength lies in McCandless's ability to remain sensitive to local peculiarities of politics, race, and culture while still situating his story in the larger framework of national and even international developments concerning the diagnosis, care, and treatment of the mentally ill.—Isis

McCandless provides a good picture of the attitudes toward and treatments of the insane and especially the changes occurring during this period.—Choice

Well-researched and engrossing.—American Historical Review

Peter McCandless's Moonlight, Magnolias, and Madness is a fine work that fills a void in the history of mental disorders in the South. It is impressively researched and clearly written. What McCandless demonstrates is that a variety of elements—political, fiscal, ideological, racial, and medical—entered into the shaping of public policy in South Carolina. An important contribution to medical, social, and southern history.—Gerald N. Grob, Rutgers University

The research upon which this book is based is exhaustive, and McCandless has consulted a rich array of source material relevant to the story of how madness was treated in South Carolina.—Journal of the Behavioral Sciences

Meet the Author

Peter McCandless is professor of history at the College of Charleston.

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