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March 27, 1991

Menninger: The Family and the Clinic

Author Affiliations

Portland, Ore

Portland, Ore

JAMA. 1991;265(12):1590-1591. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460120104049

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Seldom do you travel to the funeral of a friend and mentor reading his biography. Even less commonly do you go with the information that, after reading his biography, your friend said, "My heart is broken," became depressed and entered a hospital, and died of carcinoma, if not a broken heart.

Lawrence Friedman's detailed account of a remarkable period of development in medical-psychiatric history, which coalesced about the Menninger family, is based on the prolific writings of the family members, the extensive archives maintained by the Menninger Clinic, private papers, and extensive personal interviews. Friedman was given an absolutely clear, unfettered shot at writing the definitive history of the Menninger Clinic, and he melded his study of the interviews and documents into a book that was published without benefit of prior review by any of the significant characters. As the author remarks early on, "It is not entirely clear why