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The Great Pretender

The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness

By Susannah Cahalan
Narrated by Christie Moreau & Susannah Cahalan / 11 hours 3 minutes
Bookseller Recommendation

The Great Pretender

“In the wake the recognition Susannah Callahan received from her memoir "Brain on Fire", in which she wrote about her struggle with an auto-immune disease that briefly stole her sanity, she became a crusader for the awareness of psychiatry's abuses of its patients in recent history and the contemporary anti-psychiatry movement. The author's superb narration of the audio book does justice to her intelligent prose and the stories she tells of many different pseudo-patients, including Callahan herself, who worked to expose the limitations of psychiatry as a branch of medicine.”

Watermark Books image Zahny, Watermark Books

"One of America's most courageous young journalists" and the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir Brain on Fire investigates the shocking mystery behind the dramatic experiment that revolutionized modern medicine (NPR).

Doctors have struggled for centuries to define insanity--how do you diagnose it, how do you treat it, how do you even know what it is? In search of an answer, in the 1970s a Stanford psychologist named David Rosenhan and seven other people--sane, healthy, well-adjusted members of society--went undercover into asylums around America to test the legitimacy of psychiatry's labels. Forced to remain inside until they'd "proven" themselves sane, all eight emerged with alarming diagnoses and even more troubling stories of their treatment. Rosenhan's watershed study broke open the field of psychiatry, closing down institutions and changing mental health diagnosis forever.

But, as Cahalan's explosive new research shows in this real-life detective story, very little in this saga is exactly as it seems. What really happened behind those closed asylum doors?

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