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Book and Media Reviews
October 19, 2011

An Anatomy of Addiction: Sigmund Freud, William Halsted, and the Miracle Drug Cocaine

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Medical School for International Health, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel (markclar@bgu.ac.il).

JAMA. 2011;306(15):1711. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1511

In the delightful 1976 film “The Seven Percent Solution,” Sherlock Holmes, found by the trusty Dr Watson to be hopelessly addicted to morphine, is taken to Vienna to consult with an up-and-coming medical authority, the young Sigmund Freud. Of course, these famous figures never met, not least because one of them never existed. But no matter—the juxtaposition worked.

In An Anatomy of Addiction, Freud is once again paired with a famous personage, but this time it is with the real-life figure of William Halsted, one of the foremost surgeons of his day. What this book has in common with the above-mentioned fictional work is that once again, the persons also never met.

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