Book Search:  

 

 
Google full text of our books:

bookjacket

The Harmony of Illusions:
Inventing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Allan Young

Winner of the 1998 Wellcome Medal for Anthropology as Applied to Medical Problems, Royal Anthropological Institute

Paperback | 1997 | $37.50 / £26.95 | ISBN: 9780691017235
328 pp. | 6 x 9 | 5 line drawings
| SHOPPING CART

eBook | ISBN: 9781400821938 |
Our eBook editions are available from these online vendors

Reviews | Table of Contents

Google full text of this book:
 

As far back as we know, there have been individuals incapacitated by memories that have filled them with sadness and remorse, fright and horror, or a sense of irreparable loss. Only recently, however, have people tormented with such recollections been diagnosed as suffering from "post-traumatic stress disorder." Here Allan Young traces this malady, particularly as it is suffered by Vietnam veterans, to its beginnings in the emergence of ideas about the unconscious mind and to earlier manifestations of traumatic memory like shell shock or traumatic hysteria. In Young's view, PTSD is not a timeless or universal phenomenon newly discovered. Rather, it is a "harmony of illusions," a cultural product gradually put together by the practices, technologies, and narratives with which it is diagnosed, studied, and treated and by the various interests, institutions, and moral arguments mobilizing these efforts.

This book is part history and part ethnography, and it includes a detailed account of everyday life in the treatment of Vietnam veterans with PTSD. To illustrate his points, Young presents a number of fascinating transcripts of the group therapy and diagnostic sessions that he observed firsthand over a period of two years. Through his comments and the transcripts themselves, the reader becomes familiar with the individual hospital personnel and clients and their struggle to make sense of life after a tragic war. One observes that everyone on the unit is heavily invested in the PTSD diagnosis: boundaries between therapist and patient are as unclear as were the distinctions between victim and victimizer in the jungles of Southeast Asia.

Review:

"Allan Young. . . would disagree with the notion that [PTSD] has always been with us, arguing that the traumatic memory is a man-made object. . . . His book is a lucid case-study of the way medicine and society have managed to build up this man-made disorder over the past century and a half."--Gerald Weissmann, The London Review of Books

"Allan Young has written a splendid and much needed book. . . . Young's book is an invaluable contribution to an emerging and exciting area of scholarship. Intellectually bold, analytically rigorous, and rhetorically compelling, The Harmony of Illusions will both delight and provoke--perhaps even infuriate--friends and foes of the PTSD diagnosis."--Eric Caplan, American Journal of Sociology

"The well-researched description of the development of the construct of PTSD within American psychiatric circles makes for fascinating reading as the personalities of the players are presented along with their ideas."--William Yule, The Times Higher Education Supplement

"An ambitious and richly informative account of the growth and progress of modern psychiatry itself and particularly of the intimate relationship between that discipline and its broader social and political context. As a model study of the construction of mental illness, this book represents a significant contribution to the history of science and medicine."--Philip Jenkins, American Historical Review

"A stringent critique of the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which came into vogue after the Vietnam war. . . . Young's work is scientific in the best sense, i.e., clear, precise, and free of jargon and polemics."--Kirkus Reviews

"Young has produced a fascinating book. It is also very timely given current debates, both within and beyond psychotherapy, about trauma, abuse and its recovery."--Janet Sayers, British Journal of Psychotherapy

Endorsement:

More Endorsements

Table of Contents

Subject Areas:

Shopping Cart:

  • For ebooks:

Our eBook editions are available
from these online vendors:

  • Amazon Kindle Store
  • Google Play eBook Store
  • Kno eBook Store
  • Many of our ebooks are available through
    library electronic resources including these platforms:

  • Books at JSTOR
  • Ebrary
  • Ebook Library
  • EBSCO Ebooks
  • MyiLibrary
  • Dawsonera (UK)

  • Shopping Cart:

    • For hardcover/paperback orders:

      For hardcover/paperback orders in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Australia

      Paperback: $37.50 ISBN: 9780691017235

      For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan

      Paperback: £26.95 ISBN: 9780691017235

      Add to shopping cart

      Prices subject to change without notice

      File created: 9/23/2014

    Questions and comments to: webmaster@press.princeton.edu
    Princeton University Press

    New Book E-mails
    New In Print
    PUP Blog
    Videos/Audios
    Princeton APPS
    Sample Chapters
    Subjects
    Series
    Catalogs
    Princeton Legacy Library
    Textbooks
    Media/Reviewers
    Class Use
    Rights/Permissions
    Ordering
    Recent Awards
    Princeton Shorts
    Freshman Reading
    PUP Europe
    About Us
    Contact Us
    Links
    F.A.Q.
    PUP Home


    Bookmark and Share
    Send me emails
    about new books in:
    Anthropology
    Sociology
    History of Science and Medicine, Philosophy of Science
    More Choices
    Email:
    Country:
    Name: