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December 1970

The Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement.

Author Affiliations



By Thomas S Szasz, MD. Price, $8.95. Pp 321, Harper & Row, 49 E 33rd St, New York 10016, 1970.

Arch Intern Med. 1970;126(6):1073-1074. doi:10.1001/archinte.1970.00310120135018

The primary message that I derive from this endlessly fascinating book is that sense cannot be made of some of our great moral, sociological, and political problems if they are allowed to remain in the domain of medicine generally, and psychiatry in particular.

With a wealth of learning and an often unnerving logical precision (as John P. Roche said about another of the author's books, Law, Liberty, and Psychiatry), Szasz who is professor of psychiatry at Syracuse, examines the social actions during the witch hunt of the Inquisition, comparing them with those resulting currently because of the belief in mental illness. A striking revelation in his analysis is the misuse made in modern psychiatric history of the analogy that witches are considered generally to have been persons bereft of their reason rather than scapegoats. Zilboorg (Medical Man and Witch, p 73) is quoted as follows: "... no doubt is left in

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