Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bedlam: London and Its Mad

The second of Catherine Arnold's topic-specific histories, Bedlam: London and Its Mad didn't leave much more of an impression on me than Necropolis: London and Its Dead did.  It's and interesting and apparently comprehensive history of the treatment of mental illness from the late middle ages through the early 20th Century, but a few days after finishing it, I don't remember many specific details.  Apparently informative and generally diverting, it's essentially disposable.  Arnold's prose is a bit dry, and suffers in particular when contrasted with Mary Roach's work.  I'd like to see what Ms. Roach could do with the same subject.

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