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The Man Who Closed the Asylums: Franco Basaglia and the Revolution in Mental Health Care Hardcover – Import, 18 Aug 2015

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“Peopled by a cast of extraordinary characters—patients, colleagues, friends and enemies—revolving around the charismatic and now legendary psychiatrist Franco Basaglia, John Foot’s sympathetic account de-mythologises the reform by uncovering little-known precedents, distancing Basaglia from anti-psychiatry and situating his work within Italian radical politics of the late 1960s. Indispensable reading for anyone interested in psychiatric reform.”
—Howard Caygill, author of On Resistance

“An important work … should put to rest the badly-informed, lazy narrative that still prevails to the effect that Franco Basaglia was an idealist—an ‘anti-psychiatrist’—who, at a stroke, disempowered doctors to certify someone as insane with disastrous results.”
—Adrian C. Laing, author of R.D. Laing: A Biography

“The anti-asylum movement in 1960s and ’70s Italy forms one of the most fascinating episodes in western psychiatry. John Foot’s richly documented and revealing study of this movement and its pioneer figure, the charismatic radical psychiatrist Franco Basaglia, adds immeasurably to our understanding of the troubled history of mental health care in modern times.”
—Barbara Taylor, author of The Last Asylum

“A brilliant historical reconstruction of the work and ideas of one of the world’s leading exponents of critical psychiatry.”
—David Forgacs, author of Italy’s Margins

“It is fashionable in some quarters to laugh at the radical left of the 1960s. The Man Who Closed the Asylums feels refreshing in that regard—as a portrait of imperfect people who had the passion and pragmatism to put an end to a brutal and broken system.”
—Sarah Wise, Financial Times

“In Italy, the literature on Basaglia tends towards either idealisation or demonisation—he’s considered either a secular saint or a dangerous radical. John Foot gives a much more rounded, and fair, portrait of a complicated, committed man.”
—Tobias Jones, Guardian

“John Foot stresses throughout his exemplary account [that] myth and reality aren’t easily separated in Basaglia’s story … Foot restores a critical distance that makes it possible to present Basaglia’s achievements as part of a wider story. In Italy, it took more than one man to close the asylums.”
—Mike Jay, London Review of Books

“A scholar steeped in the twists and turns of Italian history of the 20th century … Foot has made wonderful use of [the materials of the Basaglia archive] … exploring them through the lens of the politics and fractured nature of the country itself.”
—Helen Bynum, Times Higher Education

“Brings this diversity, richness and complexity to life in an exemplary fashion, illuminating all its different manifestations and contradictions … A triumph of committed scholarship.”
Times Literary Supplement

“Foot’s impassioned story reminds us that the future is neither immutable nor ordained, and that small groups of people in peripheral places can change.”

“However strong the spirit of 1968, it will not eradicate the institutional impulse from human societies.”
—Peter J. Leithart, First Things

“An excellent book”
—Melissa Reynolds, Frugal Creativity

About the Author

John Foot is Professor of Modern Italian History in the School of Modern Languages, University of Bristol. He has published several books on sports and contemporary Italian history. He writes a blog for the Italian magazine Internazionale and has written for the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday, the Times Literary Supplement, the London Review of Books, and History Today.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; 1 edition (18 August 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781689261
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781689264
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.7 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,26,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 reviews
Kristine Fisher
3.0 out of 5 starsI knew that this book could be terrific, transportive
26 October 2015 - Published on Amazon.com

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