In The Birth of Neurosis, Dr. Drinka examines the doctors, patients, and ideas that shaped notions of neurosis before Freud. This work is an exploration of the mass psychology and mythology of the Victorian age as well as a social history of its broader culture. Dr. Drinka describes the work of the fascinating, often eccentric physicians whose ideas were inextricably bound up in the profound technological and intellectual turmoil of their era—Jean-Martin Charcot’s use of hypnosis to treat “grand hysteria,” George Miller Beard’s prescription of electricity to cure neurasthenia, Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s studies of perversion and inversion in his treatments for “acquired degeneracy.” The Birth of Neurosis provides a new perspective on the tumultuous period in which our present understanding of human psychology had its beginnings.
His various books reviews in The Journal of American Psychoanalytic Association and the New York Times all pertain to writings in the area of the history of psychiatry and medicine.
Book Reviews of The Birth of Neurosis
“In this masterly work, physician and medical historian George Drinka explores the Victorian influence on our thinking about the relationship between behavior and the human brain. The book is rich with vivid and memorable description…Drinka skillfully imbeds this narrative of medical geniuses and charlatans within the larger framework of the social and technological developments of the period.”
– Richard Restak, M.D.
Washington Post Book World
“Dr. Drinka has unearthed no end of curiosities.”
– Rosemary Dinnage, The New
York Times Book Review
“It is a fascinating and often amusing story that Dr. Drinka has to tell, and he presents it well.”
“A multilevel and superlative survey [marked by] clarity of thought and expression…The ideas throughout are exceptionally thought-provoking…Read it for the sheer enjoyment of being led by an expert teacher into a weird but fascinating terrain.”
“It is indeed an impressive achievement weaving together as it does thumbnail biographies, case histories, and synopses of relevant novels…It is must reading for all interested in the history of psychiatry, and should in addition have a wide popular appeal.”
–Jerome D. Frank, M.D.,Ph.D.,
Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry,
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine