August 1959

Operators and Things: The Inner Life of a Schizophrenic.

Author Affiliations

By Barbara O’Brien. Price, $3.95. Pp. X+166. Introduction by Michael Maccoby; prefatory note by L. J. Reyna. Arlington Press, 30 Arlington St., Cambridge, Mass., 1958.

AMA Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1959;1(2):232-233. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1959.03590020128013

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A report on schizophrenia as seen from that usually inaccessible point of observation, the patient, cannot but be welcomed by the student of this disorder and by the psychiatrist who must deal with it. This small book, such a report, brings into high focus some of the everintriguing problems of schizophrenia. The trained investigator will recognize them. Yet in writing down her experiences as a patient, the author is contributing irreplaceably to our knowledge. It may be said at the outset that any person in the field can read the book with profit and enjoyment.

The essence of the story is this: An obviously sensitive woman, apparently at the midtwenties, and unmarried, wakes one morning “to find three gray and somewhat wispy figures standing at her bedside.” These visual hallucinations deliver a compulsive order, which she obeys: “I packed some clothes and mounted a Greyhound bus, as they

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