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Agnes's Jacket: A Psychologist's Search for the Meanings of Madness UK ed

by Gail A. Hornstein PCCS Books
Pub Date:
Pbk 335 pages
AU$53.99 NZ$56.51
Product Status: Available in Approx 14 days
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In a Victorian-era German asylum, seamstress Agnes Richter painstakingly stitched a mysterious autobiographical text into every inch of the jacket she created from her institutional uniform. Despite every attempt to silence them, hundreds of other patients have managed to get their stories out, at least in disguised form, and so it continues today. A vast gulf exists between the way medicine explains psychiatric illness and the experiences of those who suffer. Hornstein's brilliant work helps us to bridge that gulf, guiding us through the inner lives of those diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar illness, depression, and paranoia and emerging with nothing less than a new model for understanding so-called 'mental illness', one another and ourselves. One which asks not 'what's wrong with you' but 'what happened to you and how did you manage to survive?'

A new introduction by the author for the UK edition 1. The Voice Hearer 2. Beyond Belief 3. The Network 4. Mavericks in Maastricht 5. Who's Crazy Now? 6. Freedom Centre 7. Prisoner Abuse 8. He might be Houdini 9. Field Notes 10. Peter, who comes from Jesus 11. Philosophy of a Lunatic 12. Whitsbury House 13. Experts by Experience 14. Secrets and Hostages 15. Train Tracks 16. Free Speech 17. Trauma and Testimony 18. Displaced Persons 19. The Mental Market 20. Hunger Strikers 21. The Late Quartets 22. Hidden in Plain Sight 23. Visions Wrapped in Riddles 24. Written on the Body 25. The Wounds does the Healing 25. Finding What Works and What Doesn't Acknowledgements Notes Resources Index

''Reading Agnes's Jacket changed the course of my life. In this book Gail Hornstein undertakes a remarkable investigation into the experiences of people who - like me - have found themselves caught up in the 'mad world' of mental illness. In this compelling account of a personal quest spanning centuries and continents, seeking to better comprehend what it is to go mad, Gail Hornstein connects us to a whole new world of hitherto hidden networks, radical voices and marvellous stories of survival, recovery and beyond. Mental illness can be a profoundly isolating experience. Since discovering Agnes's Jacket I know that I am part of a growing global community of people - either 'experts by experience or experts by profession' - who push forward towards a more humane and hopeful understanding of the meanings of madness.'' Bobby Baker, author of 'Diary Drawings', Mind Book of the Year 2011 ''An amazing psychological adventure story. Hornstein, an academic psychologist with the skills of a first-rate journalist, enters the world of the truly 'mad' and comes out with profound lessons about her profession and herself.'' Barbara Ehrenreich ''It would be difficult to over-praise this book. Beautifully written, combining intellectual rigour with the tension of a detective story, it uses historical and modern material to document the struggles and opposition faced by those called mad who simply wish to tell their own stories. A superb addition to the increasing number of critiques of the medicalisation of distress.'' Mary Boyle ''Compelling and beautifully done.'' Susie Orbach ''An insightful and eloquent exploration of the subjective experiences of madness. The curiosity and wisdom of the author illuminates our understanding of the complex mysteries of the human condition.'' Jacqui Dillon
Gail A. Hornstein is a professor of psychology at Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, USA, and author of 'To Redeem One Person Is to Redeem the World', the widely praised biography of pioneering psychiatrist Frieda Fromm-Reichmann. She divides her time between Holyoke and London.