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Publishers WeeklyMetzl, a psychiatrist and Univ. of Michigan professor, uses the largely unknown story of Michigan's Ionia Mental Hospital to track the evolving definition of schizophrenia from the 1920s to the '70s, from an illness of "pastoral, feminine neurosis into one of urban, male psychosis" correlated with aggression. Metzl puts the imperfect science of diagnosis in historical context with admirable lucidity, moving into the present to examine how a tangle of medical errors and systemic racism that labels "threats to authority as mental illness" influences the diagnosis of black men with schizophrenia. He offers a laudably complex look at a complex and still poorly understood condition, expanding his discussion to include the impact of deinstitutionalization and the revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-II) in the 1960s. The result is a sophisticated analysis of the mechanisms of racism in the mental health system and, by extension, the criminal justice system.
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