The Book of Woe: Book summary and reviews of The Book of Woe by Gary Greenberg

The Book of Woe

The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry

by Gary Greenberg

The Book of Woe by Gary Greenberg

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About this book

Book Summary

An exposé of the psychiatric profession's bible from a leading psychotherapist, The Book of Woe reveals the deeply flawed process by which mental disorders are invented and uninvented—and why increasing numbers of therapy patients are being declared mentally ill.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. [A] compelling insider's challenge to psychiatry's scientific pretensions - and a plea to return it to its humanistic roots." - Publishers Weekly

"Bright, humorous and seriously thoroughgoing, Greenberg takes all the DSMs for a spin as revealing as the emperor's new clothes." - Kirkus

"Gary Greenberg is a thoughtful comedian and a cranky philosopher and a humble pest of a reporter, equal parts Woody Allen, Kierkegaard, and Columbo. The Book of Woe is a profound, and profoundly entertaining, riff on malady, power, and truth. This book is for those of us (i.e., all of us) who've ever wondered what it means, and what's at stake, when we try to distinguish the suffering of the ill from the suffering of the human." - Gideon Lewis-Kraus, author of A Sense of Direction

"This could be titled 'The Book of ... Whoa! An eye-popping look at the unnerving, often tawdry politics of psychiatry'." - Gene Weingarten, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Fiddler in the Subway

"Bringing the full force of his wit, warmth, and tenacity to this accessible inside account of the latest revision of psychiatry's diagnostic bible, Gary Greenberg has written a book to rival the importance of its subject. Keenly researched and vividly reported, The Book of Woe is frank, impassioned, on fire for the truth - and best of all, vigorously, beautifully alive to its story's human stakes." - Michelle Orange, author of This Is Running for Your Life

"Gary Greenberg has become the Dante of our psychiatric age, and the DSM-5 is his Inferno. He guides us through the not-so-divine comedy that results when psychiatrists attempt to reduce our hopelessly complex inner worlds to an arbitrary taxonomy that provides a disorder for everybody. Greenberg leads us into depths that Dante never dreamed of. The Book of Woe is a mad chronicle of so-called madness." - Errol Morris, Academy Award–winning director, and author of A Wilderness of Error

"In this gripping, devastating account of psychiatric hubris, Gary Greenberg shows that the process of revising the DSM remains as haphazard and chaotic as ever. His meticulous research into the many failures of DSM-5 will spark concern, even alarm, but in doing so will rule out complacency. The Book of Woe deserves a very wide readership." - Christopher Lane, author of Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness

"Gary Greenberg's The Book of Woe is about the DSM in the way that Moby-Dick is about a whale - big-time, but only in part. An engaging history of a profession's virtual bible, The Book of Woe is also a probing consideration of those psychic depths we cannot know and those social realities we pretend not to know, memorably rendered by a seasoned journalist who parses the complexities with a pickpocket's eye and a mensch's heart. If I wanted a therapist, and especially if I wanted to clear my mind of cant, I'd make an appointment with Dr. Greenberg as soon as he could fit me in." - Garret Keizer, author of Privacy and The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want

"The Book of Woe is a brilliant, ballsy excursion into the minefield of modern psychiatry. Greenberg has wit, energy, and a wonderfully skeptical mind. If you want to understand how we think of mental suffering today - and why, and to what effect - read this book." - Daniel Smith, author of Monkey Mind

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More Information

Gary Greenberg is a practicing psychotherapist and author of Manufacturing Depression and The Noble Lie. He has written about the intersection of science, politics, and ethics for many publications, including Harper's, The New Yorker, Wired, Discover, Rolling Stone, and Mother Jones, where he is a contributor. Dr. Greenberg lives with his family in Connecticut.

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