An Anatomy of Addiction

An Anatomy of Addiction

Sigmund Freud, William Halsted and the Miracle Drug, Cocaine

Book - 2011
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The astonishing account of the decades-long cocaine use of Sigmund Freud and William Halsted. The author discusses the physical and emotional damage caused by the constant use of the then-heralded wonder drug, and of how each man ultimately changed the world in spite of it--or because of it.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, c2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780375423307
Call Number: 362.298 M3409a
Characteristics: xx, 314 p. : ill. ; 25 cm


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TLMC Jul 06, 2012

Enjoyable and quick read. Interesting too, even for those well-read on Freud.

oldhag Jan 08, 2012

Engrossing. I read this book in one sitting with only a single break for a snack.
But be warned: this is creative non-fiction. Meaning that, for instance, the author recounts conversations that he certainly didn't hear, and certainly can't document. I agree with "Arllynh" that the author tried mightily to tie Freud and Halsted together even though there is no evidence that they knew each other.
Someone called Freud the greatest "hoax" of the twentieth century. According to this book, Freud was also a cocaine-addled, wife-abusing, bi-sexual adulterer.
Halstead, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins, was also a cocaine-addled homosexual, or bi-sexual. Halstead was the first doctor to ask the Goodyear Rubber Company to manufacture the "rubber gloves" that are a basic requirement for today's medical personnel.
"Substituting one addictive drug for another was a common medical means of treating substance abuse in the late nineteenth century and, in fact, remains so to this day". Any addict who has been mandated to methadone maintenance in twenty-first century America can attest to that.

arllynh Jan 06, 2012

At times I found myself wishing the author had written two separate books. He tried so hard to related the disparate stories of Freud and Halsted yet it never came coherently together. The very format of the book became distracting. And as a personal gripe, I wanted Dr. Markel to confine his speculations regarding the lifelong continued drug use of Freud/Halsted to the verifiable, not to what his experience working with addicts would lead him to believe. Repeatedly stating that he knew how difficult it is to determine whether the two men kicked their addictions, and then continuing to suggest they didn't based felt like an exercise in intellectual masturbation I could have done without.


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