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Description - Gracefully Insane by Alex Beam

The Boston Globe #1 bestseller and Book Sense 76 pick: A "candid and engrossing" history of "the Harvard of mental institutions," and of the evolution of psychiatric treatment. . McLean Hospital is one of the most famous, most elite, and once most luxurious mental institutions in America. Its "alumni" include Sylvia Plath, John Forbes Nash, Ray Charles and Susanna Kaysen. James Taylor found inspiration for a song or two there; Frederic Law Olmsted first designed the grounds and later signed in as a patient. In its "golden age," McLean provided as gracious and gentle an environment for the treatment of mental illness as one could imagine. But the golden age is over, and a downsized, downscale McLean is struggling to stay afloat. Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam's Gracefully Insane is an entertaining and strangely poignant biography of McLean from its founding in 1817 through today. The story of McLean is also the story of the hopes and failures of psychology and psychotherapy; of the evolution of attitudes about mental illness; and of the economic pressures that are making McLean--and other institutions like it--relics of a bygone age. This is fascinating reading for the many readers interested in either the literature of madness--from The Bell Jar to Girl, Interrupted to A Beautiful Mind--or in the history of its treatment.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781586481612
ISBN-10: 1586481614
Format: Paperback
(210mm x 140mm x mm)
Pages: 296
Imprint: PublicAffairs,U.S.
Publish Date: 17-Dec-2002
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Alex Beam

Alex Beam is a columnist for the Boston Globe and the author of two novels. He has also written for the Atlantic Monthly, Slate and Forbes/FYI. He lives in Newton, Massachusetts with his wife and three sons.

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