Mad by the Millions: Mental disorders and the early years of the World Health Organization
MIT Press, US$35 pb, 235 pp
World War II drew the still-marginal profession of psychiatry into the war effort, with psychiatrists screening recruits for mental disorders and predisposing histories. Trauma, or the fear of trauma, hovered. But after treaties were signed and soldiers returned to their loved ones, and the memory of war faded for those not condemned to be visited by it daily, what role was psychiatry to play? In Mad by the Millions, historian of science and psychiatrist Harry Yi-Jui Wu writes about the peace time ambitions of postwar psychiatry, which were marshalled in the unlikely, bureaucratic setting of the International Social Psychiatry Project (ISPP) run by the Mental Health Unit of the World Health Organization.