The Lobotomy Letters
Title Details

178 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

4 b/w. Illustrations

Series: Rochester Studies in Medical History

Imprint: University of Rochester Press

The Lobotomy Letters

The Making of American Psychosurgery

by Mical Raz

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
Drawing from original correspondence penned by lobotomy patients and their families as well as from the professional papers of lobotomy pioneer and neurologist Walter Freeman, The Lobotomy Letters gives an account of the widespread acceptance of this controversial procedure.
The rise and widespread acceptance of psychosurgery constitutes one of the most troubling chapters in the history of modern medicine. By the late 1950s, tens of thousands of Americans had been lobotomized as treatment for a host of psychiatric disorders. Though the procedure would later be decried as devastating and grossly unscientific, many patients, families, and physicians reported veritable improvement from the surgery; some patients were even considered cured.
The Lobotomy Letters gives an account of why this controversial procedure was sanctioned by psychiatrists and doctors of modern medicine. Drawing from original correspondence penned by lobotomy patients andtheir families as well as from the professional papers of lobotomy pioneer and neurologist Walter Freeman, the volume reconstructs how physicians, patients, and their families viewed lobotomy and analyzes the reasons for its overwhelming use.

Mical Raz, MD/PhD, is a physician and historian of medicine.
Introduction
From French Neurology to American Lobotomy
Locating Holism
Between the Ego and the Ice Pick
An Active Docility: Reconstructing the Clinical Encounter
A Surgically Induced Childhood
Lobotomized, in Good Working Condition
Conclusion
Notes
Index
"If you have read Jack Pressman's Last Resort, you may have concluded that you had read all you need to about the history of lobotomy. Mical Raz's book will make you think again. Through a close and thoughtful examination of lobotomist Walter Freeman, and especially his relations with patients, Raz has made a major contribution." BULLETIN OF THE HISTORY OF MEDICINE
"This volume provides a novel perspective on Walter Freeman's early training, linking it convincingly to his later professional practices and views. Highlighting that the efficacy of medical procedures is a complex and to some degree context-bound business, Raz's work is an important contribution to the history of twentieth-century American psychiatry." Andrew Scull, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Science Studies, University of California, San Diego

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9781580465243

April 2015

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9781580468237

April 2013

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9781580467940

April 2013

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Title Details

178 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

4 b/w. Illustrations

Series: Rochester Studies in Medical History

Imprint: University of Rochester Press