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Zeligs, M.A. (1966). Psychiatric Justice: By Thomas S. Szasz, M.D. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1965. 283 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 35:617-620.

(1966). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 35:617-620

Psychiatric Justice: By Thomas S. Szasz, M.D. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1965. 283 pp.

Review by:
Meyer A. Zeligs

This volume is Dr. Szasz's most recent contribution to this continuing polemic against the Establishment of organized psychiatry in the United States. Each chapter is a crescendo of personal disdain and wanton antipathies against the powers that be. The book might better have been called Psychiatric Injustice, for it highlights certain inequities that occasionally take place in our system of pretrial examination of criminal defendants. It concerns the important ethical problem of the psychiatrist cast in the role of adversary; but what Dr. Szasz has to offer is marred by the prevailing tone of personal outrage and undue excitement which detracts from the book's dignity as well as its objectivity. It is evident that the subject matter concerns the author deeply and has stirred considerable anxiety in him.

This is Dr. Szasz's fourth book (besides numerous articles) on social and professional injustices. It is a logical extension and application of his single-handed endeavor to erase the discoveries and scientific refinements of modern psychiatry, to label the whole body of mental disorders a 'myth', and to remove the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness from medicine. We are henceforth to think, in fact, of mental illness as a form of disturbed social action. In his three previous books, Dr. Szasz champions the cause of individual rights of all patients, avowing his wish to emancipate all those unfortunate victims under psychiatric treatment from the grip of their psychotherapists and psychoanalysts.

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