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August 8, 1966

The Theory and Practice of Psychiatry

Author Affiliations

Newton, Conn

JAMA. 1966;197(6):517. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110060191044

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No run-of-the-mill psychiatric textbook is this. Monumental in a number of respects, its sheer size is impressive—almost 900 pages of compactly printed text and not far from half a million words.

Not surprisingly, in view of the senior author's interests, psychoanalytical and psychosocial emphasis is the keynote, yet no phase of psychiatric investigation has been neglected. The historical survey is excellent. It is refreshing to see an effective section on pharmacological treatment. But the core of the book, which ranks with the best in psychiatric thought, is the discussions of normal and abnormal behavior, neurotic reactions, psychosomatic diseases, and schizophrenias. The authors search not merely for the "what" but for the "why" and "how." Interpretation, the attempt to get at the raison d'être, is paramount.

The attitude toward the causes of schizophrenia is highly ambivalent. At one point the authors incline to concepts of constitutional defect, possibly genetic, conceivably a