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Book and Media Reviews
January 3, 2007

Mental Illness

Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2007;297(1):94-98. doi:10.1001/jama.297.1.94

The jacket of Pete Earley's book Crazy is dramatic and desperate: a faceless young man hunches in the fetal position under the words of the subtitle. Earley, a seasoned former investigative reporter for the Washington Post, drew inspiration for Crazy from his experiences with his son Mike's evolving bipolar affective disorder.

The already embattled mental health system may assume that Crazy will be yet another attack on treatment providers, who face a near-impossible mission when confronted by exigencies such as limited insurance coverage and declining inpatient bed space. Nothing could be further from the truth. In Crazy, Earley provides a remarkable and fresh look at the US mental health system. He does so in a balanced, honest, self-reflective, and informed way. Crazy offers a unique and sensitive perspective on questions America is reluctant to address. It should be required reading for psychiatry residents, forensic fellows, and any psychiatrist interested in public sector psychiatry.

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