The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission that Changed our Understanding of Madness (Paperback)
  • The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission that Changed our Understanding of Madness (Paperback)
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The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission that Changed our Understanding of Madness (Paperback)

(author)
£9.99
Paperback 400 Pages / Published: 16/07/2020
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Waterstones Says

An absorbing account of psychiatry, mental illness and misdiagnosis, The Great Pretender documents the audacious undercover investigation into America’s asylums in the 1970s.

Shortlisted for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2020

In the early 1970s, Stanford professor Dr Rosenhan conducted an experiment, sending sane patients into psychiatric wards; the result of which was a damning paper about psychiatric practises. The ripple effects of this paper helped bring the field of psychiatry to its knees, closing down institutions and changing mental health diagnosis forever.

But what if that ground-breaking and now-famous experiment was itself deeply flawed? And what does that mean for our understanding of mental illness today? These are the questions Susannah Cahalan asks in her completely engrossing investigation into this staggering case, where nothing is quite as it seems.

Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
ISBN: 9781838851446
Number of pages: 400
Weight: 267 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 24 mm
Edition: Main


MEDIA REVIEWS

'People have asked me over the years: if they liked The Psychopath Test, what should they read next? I now have an answer. Susannah Cahalan's The Great Pretender is such an achievement. It's a wonderful look at the anti-psychiatry movement and a great adventure - gripping, investigative. It's destined to become a popular and important book' - Jon Ronson

'Utterly compelling . . . important and spirited' - Observer

'A fascinating piece of detection . . . passionate [and] a warning against easy answers' - Sunday Times

'A well-crafted, gripping narrative that succeeds on many levels. Cahalan, who gained the trust of Rosenhan's family, is meticulous and sensitive in her research; compelling and insightful in her writing. She accurately conveys the troubles that have haunted psychiatry over the past half-century . . . her book, which I hope wins awards, has immense value as a historical account' - Financial Times

'Brilliant detective work . . . fascinating' - Guardian

'I wasn't really prepared for the story Cahalan ends up telling. That she discovered the truth about Rosenhan is a testimony to her dogged research. That this truth was inconvenient for her own outlook on psychiatry is a compliment to her integrity. She writes it all very well too, with clarity, economy and style' - The Times

'A vivid account . . . An impressive feat of investigative journalism - tenaciously conducted, appealingly written . . . as compelling as a detective novel' - Economist

'The Great Pretender recounts the remarkable investigation that [Cahalan] undertook. The book reads like a fascinating real-life detective story . . . Exposing what [Rosenhan] got up to is a quite exceptional accomplishment, and Cahalan recounts the story vividly and with great skill' - Spectator

'The Great Pretender reads like a detective story, with Cahalan revealing tantalising clues at opportune moments so we can experience the thrills of discovery alongside her' - New York Times

'Cahalan tells this whole story not simply with dramatic flair but also with the passion of a former patient whose own misdiagnosis . . . almost resulted in her death' - Times Literary Supplement

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