Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America's Premier Mental Hospital

[PDF] Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America's Premier Mental Hospital | by ✓ Alex Beam - Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America's Premier Mental Hospital, Gracefully Insane The Rise and Fall of America s Premier Mental Hospital An entertaining and poignant social history of McLean Hospital temporary home to many of the troubled geniuses of our age and of the evolution of the treatment of mental illness from the early th ce [PDF] Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America's Premier Mental Hospital | by ✓ Alex Beam - Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America's Premier Mental Hospital, Gracefully Insane The Rise and Fall of America s Premier Mental Hospital An entertaining and poignant social history of McLean Hospital temporary home to many of the troubled geniuses of our age and of the evolution of the treatment of mental illness from the early th ce

  • Title: Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America's Premier Mental Hospital
  • Author: Alex Beam
  • ISBN: 9780786750368
  • Page: 220
  • Format: ebook
Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America's Premier Mental Hospital

[PDF] Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America's Premier Mental Hospital | by ✓ Alex Beam, Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America's Premier Mental Hospital, Alex Beam, Gracefully Insane The Rise and Fall of America s Premier Mental Hospital An entertaining and poignant social history of McLean Hospital temporary home to many of the troubled geniuses of our age and of the evolution of the treatment of mental illness from the early th century to today [PDF] Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America's Premier Mental Hospital | by ✓ Alex Beam - Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America's Premier Mental Hospital, Gracefully Insane The Rise and Fall of America s Premier Mental Hospital An entertaining and poignant social history of McLean Hospital temporary home to many of the troubled geniuses of our age and of the evolution of the treatment of mental illness from the early th ce

  • [PDF] Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America's Premier Mental Hospital | by ✓ Alex Beam
    220 Alex Beam
Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America's Premier Mental Hospital

About “Alex Beam

  • Alex Beam

    I m a columnist for the Boston Globe Before that I worked as a business reporter in Los Angeles and Moscow I ve lived in Boston since 1984, and written for the newspaper since 1987 I m working on my next book, about the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith I wish I still resembled that handsome photo, taken about a decade ago UPDATE Finished the Joseph Smith book obviously and have started turning over soil for my next project UPDATE Finished that project, a short, sharp book called The Feud Vladimir Nabokov, Edmund Wilson, and the End of a Beautiful Friendship I follow my reviews, and would like to offer a collective Thank You to the men and women, who without exception, as far as I can see have offered literate, unbiased reactions to my writing Thanks



881 thoughts on “Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America's Premier Mental Hospital

  • I just couldn t get into this book I was expecting about what went on at the hospital I wanted to know about how the patients were treated and what happened to them This book was not about that Most of the book was about the hospital building itself and its location and how it changed throughout time There were a few small mentions of who stayed there, but not enough to hold my interest I guess this could be of interest to those who want to know about hospital buildings, but don t look here for [...]


  • What I liked best about this book is that Alex Beam does not simply mock the wealthy, upper class persons who were the patients at McLean Hospital in Massachusetts Instead, he places these patients and doctors lives into a social and historical context The result is a compassionate and generally respectful look at patients suffering and struggle to overcome mental illness He includes sections on Anne Sexton, Robert Lowell, and James Taylor the pop singer.


  • It took me over three months to read this book To be honest it may have to do with the fact that I was also reading several other books at the same time Anyhow being from Boston made this book extra special for me since this is the location for that famous McLean Mental Hospital The rich history of the facility and the treatment of mental health was fascinating I also found some of the famous patients like Sylvia Plath and the Taylor James, Livingston, and Kate family to be very interesting, Hav [...]


  • After watching a television show depicting ghost hunters in an insane asylum I found my curiosity increased about the history behind some of these institutions By far, this is the book I enjoyed reading the most The author focuses on the McLean hospital, part of the Harvard medical system and a temporary home to some of the rich and famous A little teaser, the author of Girls Interrupted spent time at this hospital The book focuses on the history of the hospital Yet it is evident that the author [...]


  • The story of McLean hospital, one of the most famous mental hospitals in the US Sometimes it seems as though anyone who s anyone spent time in McLean throughout the 20th century it was famous for catering to the rich and famous with the utmost discretion Among its alumni are poet Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath who based her novel The Bell Jar on her experiences there , James Taylor and his siblings, Susanna Kaysen who wrote about her experiences in Girl, Interrupted , John Nash, and Ray Charles, ju [...]


  • Beam s Gracefully Insane is rich in anecdotal history, but poor in other areas Makes for a light, enjoyable read, but Beam rarely teases out the interesting insights that arise from his excellent access to the inner workings of America s Premier mental hospital.This book will make you think about the troubled history of psychiatry treatment of mental illness, and Beam s portrait of this institution caused me to shed no tears for the fall of this fabled refuge for blue blooded loons.Reading inter [...]


  • The history of McLean Hospital, one of the most famous mental institutions in the US It s biggest problem is that it reads like a who s who of the mental hospital.


  • A work of non fiction cataloging the history of the famous McLean Hospital, a psychiatric facility located in the Boston suburbs, this was a pleasure to read Especially since I grew up a couple miles from the hospital had even volunteered there as a young adult , I felt protective of this fine institution and all that it represented It always seemed a staple of mental health treatment which was well known in the psychiatric circles but otherwise seemed to be a secret to others outside of the nea [...]


  • While it covers fascinating material, it feels disjointed and choppy in many places It sort of reads like a research paper that has been expanded into a book, meaning that there are often stories that seem irrelevant to the overarching history of McLean This means, though, that the really interesting topics that get broached to fill pages, like famous patients or antiquated methods of psychoanalysis don t get covered in the depth I d like to see, because this book isn t really about them It sort [...]


  • This book was great I sort of expected it to focus on the various messed up therapies common in the days when McLeans was started, but it kept that to a minimum I found myself saddened that in the current age of treat em and street em therapies, a place like McLeans is having to change what made it essentially the best mental hospital in New England a place where the mentally ill could take their own time to get better I was also extremely entertained to learn how many famous people passed thro [...]


  • It s probably of a 3.5t the most organized book It is all over the place and choppy expect a collection of short stories and it shouldn t bother so much , but it s an interesting glimpse into what used to be one of the most prestigious mental institutions for the wealthy and talented It s the subject of many famous books films and housed many famous individuals, Girl, Interrupted, Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar, Ray Charles, James Taylor, many Harvard educated intellectualsd a host of others It als [...]


  • This year I have read two books chronicling the history of two major American Mental Hospitals Bellevue and McLean This book is about McLean Hospital outside of Boston The two hospitals could not be different Bellevue is a public hospital taking all cases while McLean was a hospital for the affluent affiliated with Harvard McLean offered the rich and famous a genteel, gracious milieu for healing and restoration The grounds were filled with mansions and gardens even a golf course , housing the r [...]


  • Gracefully Insane was Boston Globe journo Alex Beam s first non fiction book few know that he had written a c0uple 0f novels before this It may be his best Using the country club setting of McLean Psychiatric Hospital as a springboard, Beam traces the history of the treatment of mental patients In olden times, lunatics were chained to walls, frightened to near death, and dunked in water until they lost consciousness Then came insulin and electro shock therapy McLean was a center for millieu ther [...]


  • A great book outlining the history of mental health treatment in the United States Of course, it is also the history of the luxurious institution for the rich still open today if you can pay for it yourself It s filled with engrossing stories and is a great beginning for someone interested in finding out where we re going wrong in treating mental health issues today Interestingly or ironically, the last chapter discusses insurance companies and insurance coverage and health care coverage is on t [...]


  • This is the kind of nonfiction I want to read, engaging, personal interest stories, just enough information with footnotes in case you need that it doesn t become exhaustive, quick but nicely structured and concise chapters, addresses all the stories you want to hear but also throws in some surprises Really enjoyable with some thought provoking discussion and sensitive handling of hard topics and truths.


  • This book is really less about the history of McLean and mental health in general and of a Who s Who of former patients There are scant details about actual treatment and the historical progression of the mental health industry Further scant details about actual patient life if they weren t well known or tied to someone well known in pop culture.


  • Some incredibly thought provoking stories, I m super nosy about things like this so it gripped me in places The writing is quite easy to follow for someone who doesn t always read this style of book and the subject matter is dealt with, I thought, quite tactfully.


  • An interesting history of McLean and some of its past inhabitants It has a journalistic tone throughout until the male author casually uses the word bitchy to describe a poem by Pulitzer winner and former McLean patient, Anne Sexton Not OK, dude.




  • Not a book club read If you are a history buff and like reading a text book style reporting of a facility, it s employees, and visitors, this is a book for you Interesting facts, but not a book for book club gatherings



  • Alex Beam s, Gracefully Insane presents a unique look at the development and history of mental health in America, framed in the focus of one of the nation s oldest and most prestigious asylums later to be known as a mental health hospital Narrowing his investigation to just one institution as it progresses through history provides an intimate, accessible review of mental health therapies, diagnoses, and the major players within the field.Rating 2 stars for being well written, and comprehensive, [...]


  • Boy was this a disappointment I really didnt care that this was a place for the rich to dump people I wanted to know about treatment and other things in regard to what happened there during its peak Not about the rich people who stayed there or that it sounded like a vaction home It was a super slow read, it took me a while to suck it up and finish.


  • This popular history was in many ways just what I hoped it would be colorful, weird, informative, full of kooky tales of mentally disturbed rich and celebrated individuals It seemed to come up a little short in a couple of areas the writing is a little lackluster, altho there is a very cool, dry wit at work thruout Also, the number of colorful tales of madness are not as many as one might wish, but Beam was hampered by not having access to everyone s name and record due to privacy issues.The boo [...]


  • 3.5 stars.McLean Mental Hospital stands on an 800,000 square foot campus in Belmont, Massachusetts Famous for residents like Sylvia Plath, James Taylor Susanna Kaysen, it was once the location of choice for wealthy Boston residents to send their eccentric rich relations off to Alex Beam has put an incredible amount of work into researching writing this book unfortunately, after the first 100 pages I found it increasingly boring It started to read like a muddled reference book, mixing stories of [...]


  • This was an interesting book about an exclusive psychiatric hospital, that most of us would never be able to get into That s part of what really bugged the daylights out of me about this whole book I got part way into the book, and started getting really perturbed, that people were getting first rate treatment, compared to the horrible conditions usually seen in the state psychiatic hospitalse they were wealthy It was horribly unfair The book was too light, meaning it didn t go deep enough With [...]


  • This was a quick and breezy read Beam is a journalist, and his writing style is much suited to a magazine article than a full length book Which is not to say the author didn t throughly research his subject however, his narrative left a lot of details out, and the picture of McLean s is incomplete.McLean s is still known today as a rest home mental hospital for the well to do pick up a copy of the New Yorker, and you ll find a discreet square side rail ad somewhere in its pages It has hosted ju [...]


  • A wonderful history of the famous Mclean private psychiatric hospital in Massachusetts and its many fascinating patients and a not so wonderful catalogue of the mental health field as it evolved and devolved into the 20th century, due to mis managed care our insurance overlords and the profit motive of pharmaceutical industry Having worked in MH for over 20 years, I found myself reliving all the ups and downs of trying to help the most disturbed patients, their courageous recoveries and shatteri [...]


  • While this non fiction book had gems of interesting anecdotes about some of McLean s most famous residents, there were also boring historical chapters about the institution s financial instabilities over the years During the late 60 s, early 70 s, Anne Sexton was asked to share her love of poetry with some of the inmates She did her best to try to lead them out of their madness with poetry, just like she herself did However, over time, she ended up coming back to the institution as a patient yet [...]


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