The Harmony of Illusions: Inventing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Overview

"Young offers a brilliant acount of how post-traumatic stress disorder came into being. His detailed analysis of sessions with Vietnam Vetrens at Vetrens Administration hospitals is one of the finest pieces of up-to-date medical anthropology in existence."—Ian Hacking, Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto

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Editorial Reviews

British Journal of Psychotherapy
Young has produced a fascinating book. It is also very timely given current debates, both within and beyond psychotherapy, about trauma, abuse and its recovery.
— Janet Sayers
The London Review of Books - Gerald Weissmann
Allan Young. . . would disagree with the notion that [PTSD] has always been with us, arguing that the traumatic memory is a man-made object. . . . His book is a lucid case-study of the way medicine and society have managed to build up this man-made disorder over the past century and a half.
American Journal of Sociology - Eric Caplan
Allan Young has written a splendid and much needed book. . . . Young's book is an invaluable contribution to an emerging and exciting area of scholarship. Intellectually bold, analytically rigorous, and rhetorically compelling, The Harmony of Illusions will both delight and provoke—perhaps even infuriate—friends and foes of the PTSD diagnosis.
The Times Higher Education Supplement - William Yule
The well-researched description of the development of the construct of PTSD within American psychiatric circles makes for fascinating reading as the personalities of the players are presented along with their ideas.
American Historical Review - Philip Jenkins
An ambitious and richly informative account of the growth and progress of modern psychiatry itself and particularly of the intimate relationship between that discipline and its broader social and political context. As a model study of the construction of mental illness, this book represents a significant contribution to the history of science and medicine.
British Journal of Psychotherapy - Janet Sayers
Young has produced a fascinating book. It is also very timely given current debates, both within and beyond psychotherapy, about trauma, abuse and its recovery.
From the Publisher
Winner of the 1998 Wellcome Medal for Anthropology as Applied to Medical Problems, Royal Anthropological Institute

"Allan Young. . . would disagree with the notion that [PTSD] has always been with us, arguing that the traumatic memory is a man-made object. . . . His book is a lucid case-study of the way medicine and society have managed to build up this man-made disorder over the past century and a half."—Gerald Weissmann, The London Review of Books

"Allan Young has written a splendid and much needed book. . . . Young's book is an invaluable contribution to an emerging and exciting area of scholarship. Intellectually bold, analytically rigorous, and rhetorically compelling, The Harmony of Illusions will both delight and provoke—perhaps even infuriate—friends and foes of the PTSD diagnosis."—Eric Caplan, American Journal of Sociology

"The well-researched description of the development of the construct of PTSD within American psychiatric circles makes for fascinating reading as the personalities of the players are presented along with their ideas."—William Yule, The Times Higher Education Supplement

"An ambitious and richly informative account of the growth and progress of modern psychiatry itself and particularly of the intimate relationship between that discipline and its broader social and political context. As a model study of the construction of mental illness, this book represents a significant contribution to the history of science and medicine."—Philip Jenkins, American Historical Review

"A stringent critique of the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which came into vogue after the Vietnam war. . . . Young's work is scientific in the best sense, i.e., clear, precise, and free of jargon and polemics."—Kirkus Reviews

"Young has produced a fascinating book. It is also very timely given current debates, both within and beyond psychotherapy, about trauma, abuse and its recovery."—Janet Sayers, British Journal of Psychotherapy

American Journal of Sociology
Allan Young has written a splendid and much needed book. . . . Young's book is an invaluable contribution to an emerging and exciting area of scholarship. Intellectually bold, analytically rigorous, and rhetorically compelling, The Harmony of Illusions will both delight and provoke—perhaps even infuriate—friends and foes of the PTSD diagnosis.
— Eric Caplan
American Historical Review
An ambitious and richly informative account of the growth and progress of modern psychiatry itself and particularly of the intimate relationship between that discipline and its broader social and political context. As a model study of the construction of mental illness, this book represents a significant contribution to the history of science and medicine.
— Philip Jenkins
The London Review of Books
Allan Young. . . would disagree with the notion that [PTSD] has always been with us, arguing that the traumatic memory is a man-made object. . . . His book is a lucid case-study of the way medicine and society have managed to build up this man-made disorder over the past century and a half.
— Gerald Weissmann
The Times Higher Education Supplement
The well-researched description of the development of the construct of PTSD within American psychiatric circles makes for fascinating reading as the personalities of the players are presented along with their ideas.
— William Yule
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691017235
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 10/27/1997
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 803,705
  • Product dimensions: 5.96 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 3
Pt. I The Origins of Traumatic Memory
1 Making Traumatic Memory 13
2 World War I 43
Pt. II The Transformation of Traumatic Memory
3 The DSM-III Revolution 89
4 The Architecture of Traumatic Time 118
Pt. III Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Practice
5 The Technology of Diagnosis 145
6 Everyday Life in a Psychiatric Unit 176
7 Talking about PTSD 224
8 The Biology of Traumatic Memory 264
Conclusion 287
Notes 291
Works Cited 299
Index 321
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2013

    There were times when I only thought of myself as a mere cynic r

    There were times when I only thought of myself as a mere cynic regarding PTSD. Then I read Young's book. It is truly a brilliant revelation of the truth of a "disorder" possessed of all the qualities of fad, cultism. and pathological ideology. The title "The Harmony of Illusions: The Invention of PTSD" says it all.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2003

    A New Departure in PTSD

    Dr. Young has created a new paradigm in the exploration and analysis of PTSD. He offers a cogent argument that this 'disorder' is the result of cultural influences, never before considered in defining this mental disorder, and as such, has reached beyond anything preceding his work. His language is eloquent and his posture is brilliantly exposited.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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