Title Mind Fixers
Subtitle Psychiatry’s Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness
Author Anne Harrington
ISBN 9780393358063
List price USD 17.95
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 384
Book size 140 x 210 mm
Publishing year 2020
Original publisher W. W. Norton & Company
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
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“In Mind Fixers, Anne Harrington offers a provocative and enthralling account of psychiatry’s quest for the holy grail of a biological explanation of mental illness. A well-written, effectively substantiated and devastating story of a research enterprise that has gotten nowhere at great expense, with nonending hype and, in so doing, has weakened a profession that is clinically still useful and, like its patients, deserves much better.”

—Arthur Kleinman, author of Rethinking Psychiatry


“[An] often shocking but admirably fair and level-headed history.”

—Simon Ings, New Scientist


“A laudable venture, in which Harrington’s intellectual precision and exacting research cannot be faulted.”

—Helen Thompson, New York Times Book Review


“Anyone interested in mental health care’s history and future will appreciate this informative and rewarding survey.”

Publishers Weekly


“Superb…nuanced…In Mind Fixers, Anne Harrington has written an excellent, engaging guide to what biological psychiatry has accomplished—and not accomplished—so far.”

—Richard J. McNally, Wall Street Journal


“A fascinating and wide-ranging unpacking of the field.”



“A compelling story of the ongoing mission to understand and treat our troubled minds.”

—Nina MacLaughlin, Boston Globe


“Harrington’s grasp of this story and the clarity with which, with limited moralism, she delivers a tale about the ‘big picture’ of psychiatry and neurology is emblematic of the historian’s craft.”

—Stephen T. Casper, Science


“When it comes to doctoring the body, you have to go back to the 19th century to find a time when the theories were baseless… and the treatments often harmful.… For doctoring the mind, as Anne Harrington’s fine history of psychiatry shows, that point is much more recent.”



“A tale of promising roads that turned out to be dead ends, of treatments that seemed miraculous in their day but barbaric in retrospect, of public-health policies that were born in hope but destined for disaster…Of value to historians of medicine.”

—Gary Greenberg, Atlantic


“Anne Harrington masterfully chronicles the hopes—and the hype—surrounding psychiatry’s much-heralded ‘biological revolution’ in this penetrating, capacious, and immensely engaging account. Read Mind Fixers for an absorbing guided tour through psychiatry’s fractious history and current conflicts.”

—Elizabeth Lunbeck, author of The Americanization of Narcissism


“A must-read that will interest general readers and medical professionals alike.”

Library Journal


“Disagreement is central to psychiatry, a fact that resonates throughout Anne Harrington’s masterful history.”

—Philip Alcabes, Los Angeles Review of Books


“Anne Harrington has written a lucid and compelling analysis of the travails of psychiatry as it has attempted to ground its understanding of mental illness in biology. She confronts the gaps between its aspirations and reality with fairness and even sympathy.”

—Steven E. Hyman, director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research


“By charting our fluctuating beliefs about our own minds, [Anne] Harrington effectively tells a story about the twentieth century itself.”

—Jerome Groopman, The New Yorker


“A measured, insightful survey of the limits of contemporary treatment for mental illness.”’

Kirkus Reviews


“Enthralling.… Harrington takes us on a fascinating tour of the up-and-down history of pharmaceutical treatments for psychiatric disorders.”

—Alison Abbott, Nature


“The story Harrington tells is one of push-and-pull, back-and-forth.… Intricate and winding, though her prose remains clear and crisp.”

—Jennifer Szalai, New York Times


“Superb… a nuanced account of biological psychiatry.” —Richard J. McNally

In Mind Fixers, “the preeminent historian of neuroscience” (Science magazine) Anne Harrington explores psychiatry’s repeatedly frustrated efforts to understand mental disorder. She shows that psychiatry’s waxing and waning theories have been shaped not just by developments in the clinic and lab, but also by a surprising range of social factors. Mind Fixers recounts the past and present struggle to make mental illness a biological problem in order to lay the groundwork for creating a better future.



Introduction: Our Biological Enthusiasms

Part I: Doctors’ Stories

Chapter 1: Betting On Anatomy

Chapter 2: Biology In Disarray

Chapter 3: A Fragile Freudian Triumph

Chapter 4: Crisis And Revolt

Part II: Disease Stories

Chapter 5: Schizophrenia

Chapter 6: Depression

Chapter 7: Manic-Depression

Part III: Unfinished Stories

Chapter 8: False Dawn





Guide to Further Reading


About the Author:

Anne Harrington is the Franklin L. Ford Professor of the History of Science and faculty dean of Pforzheimer House at Harvard University. She is the author of four books, including Mind Fixers and The Cure Within. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Target Audience:

People inrested in biopsychiatry, general readers and medical professionals.


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