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Disturbances of the Mind


  • Date Published: November 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521509664

$ 39.95

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About the Authors
  • Sergei Korsakoff, Alois Alzheimer, James Parkinson, Hans Asperger and other eminent scientists, are all names which have become synonymous with a disease, a syndrome, or an autistic disorder. Although the names of these psychiatrists and neurologists are familiar, we often know little about the individuals themselves and the circumstances surrounding their discoveries. What exactly did they discover, and who were their patients? Douwe Draaisma expertly reconstructs the lives of these and eight other 'names' from the science of mind and brain. Disturbances of the Mind provides a fascinating, illuminating, and at times touching insight into the history of brain research. Thanks to Draaisma's unerring eye and elegant, engaging style, the case histories of Asperger, Bonnet, Capgras, Clérambault, Korsakoff and Gilles de la Tourette syndromes; Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases; the areas of Broca and Brodmann; Jackson's epilepsy; and the Gage matrix are all brought to life and transformed into unforgettable tales.

    • Examines discoveries in neurology and psychiatry in the context of the personal life of the discoverer, showing their aspirations, frustrations, failures and successes
    • Provides readers with a better understanding of the societal context of diagnoses such as Asperger Syndrome and Tourette Syndrome, as well as an appreciation of how perspectives on neurological and psychiatric disorders have varied over time
    • Douwe Draaisma's work has been translated into twelve languages and he has been the recipient of several national awards, praising both his academic achievements and the elegance of his writing
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'One can open this book at any chapter - but having done so, one cannot put it down. Disturbances of the Mind, combining deep learning with beguiling narrative, and full of fascinating information and ideas, is one of those rare books that will delight professionals and public alike.' Oliver Sacks

    'This book is a treasure for those studying the mind and brain, and is written accessibly to appeal to the general reader interested in the history of medicine and the variety of human behaviour.' Simon Baron-Cohen, Autism Research Centre, Cambridge University

    '… [an] intriguing book …' New Scientist

    '… cleverly constructed book … [Douwe Draaisma] … has a rare talent for writing informatively and entertainingly without losing depth.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

    '… full of delights … Draaisma offers us not just glorious stories, wrapped up in history, to enjoy, but many timeless questions to ponder.' Human Givens Journal

    'Draaisma is no straightforward biographer … his accounts are informed by insights from the burgeoning fields of sociology and philosophy of science. Thus although at one level the book can be read for instruction and entertainment, a theoretical thread about the social institutions within which science and medicine grow runs unobtrusively through the text.' The Lancet

    '… a compelling series of stories that offers inspiration; perhaps also, a sense of historical nostalgia … Disturbances of the Mind is a beguiling, easy-to-read and informative text. Several of the insights, byways and references were new to me. This work should attract the general reader of the history of medicine as well as neurologists, psychiatrists and students of human behaviour disorders. It conforms to W. B. Yeats's caveat: 'think like a wise man but express yourself like the common people.' The excellent accounts he provides allow us a glimpse into the minds of the discoverers and an appreciation of their intelligent perceptions (at least the equal of our own), often struggling for knowledge in the academic darkness of their times.' BRAIN: A Journal of Neurology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2009
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521509664
    • length: 364 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 160 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.72kg
    • contains: 47 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: not the Draaisma syndrome
    1. Towards dusk the images appear: Bonnet syndrome
    2. A tormenting round of tremors: Parkinson's disease
    3. Phineas Gage's posthumous stroll: the Gage matrix
    4. The Celestine Prophesy: Broca's area
    5. Sparks from a Leyden jar: Jackson's epilepsy
    6. Siberian brandy: Korsakoff syndrome
    7. Go to hell, idiot! Gilles de la Tourette syndrome
    8. A labyrinth of tangles: Alzheimer's disease
    9. The Mercator of neurology: Brodmann's areas
    10. The headquarters of madness: Clérambault syndrome
    11. A cup of tea for the doppelgänger: Capgras syndrome
    12. Little professors: Asperger syndrome
    13. The Cardan suspension of science.

  • Author

    Douwe Draaisma, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, The Netherlands
    Douwe Draaisma is Professor in the History of Psychology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. He is the author of Metaphors of Memory (Cambridge University Press, 2000) and Why Life Speeds Up As You Get Older (Cambridge University Press, 2004).


    Barbara Fasting

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