David Healy

Madness Inc

Our Necessary Shadow: The Nature and Meaning of Psychiatry


Allen Lane/The Penguin Press 332pp £20 order from our bookshop

Strictly Bipolar


Penguin Books 96pp £5 order from our bookshop

Tom Burns and Darian Leader are both engaging men. Both these books are easy reads – a transatlantic plane flight would speed past in their authors’ company. Both know a lot about that most fascinating of topics – what makes us tick. Both are well versed in academic theories about why we do what we do but wear their knowledge lightly. Both have a fund of stories about people they have treated and the extraordinary things that have happened to them, but remain relatively modest in their solutions.

It’s the modesty that leaves you believing that if things went wrong – if you had a mental breakdown, say – all would turn out well if you saw one of them. It also leaves you thinking that whatever we might hear about the difficulties faced by local mental health services, if there are people as reasonable as this running them, things surely cannot be too bad.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying polemic...book… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,