Metapsychology Online Reviews - Volume 21, Number 25
 
Featured Reviews
This Close to Happy by Daphne MerkinThis Close to Happy
by Daphne Merkin
Tue, May 2nd 2017
The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience by Francisco J. Varela, Evan Thompson and Eleanor Rosch The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience
by Francisco J. Varela, Evan Thompson and Eleanor Rosch
Tue, May 2nd 2017
The Virtue of Defiance and Psychiatric Engagement by Nancy Nyquist PotterThe Virtue of Defiance and Psychiatric Engagement
by Nancy Nyquist Potter
Tue, Apr 25th 2017
 
Psychiatric Hegemony
A Marxist Theory of Mental Illness
By Bruce M. Z. Cohen
Review by G. Scott Waterman and Douglas Porter on Tue, Jun 20th 2017.
Psychiatric Hegemony by Bruce M. Z. CohenThe profession of psychiatry, along with related fields (the "psy-professions"), is the subject of criticism from a variety of quarters. That is, of course, not a new state of affairs -- from at least the early work of Thomas Szasz to the present, the practice of psychiatry has engendered considerable controversy. The most recent incarnation of skepticism about the psy-professions has been dubbed "critical psychiatry." Its protagonists range from concerned and aggrieved psychiatric consumers/survivors/ex-patients to reformist and radical clinicians and academicians. The targets of their dissat
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Rick Sings
By Phil Taggart
Review by Patti Sacher on Tue, Jun 20th 2017.
Rick Sings by Phil TaggartIn Rick Sings poet Phil Taggart vividly illuminates how he has come to accept his psychotically disabled and often homeless younger brother Rick as a human being, as his own dear brother, and not as a duty, a life lesson or a cross to bear. Yet Phil's enduring love and respect for Rick seems to have liberated him in ways he might not have thought possible. For those of us family and helpers of families of people with severe mental illness, Rick Sings offers both moral support and practical demonstration of what we can and cannot do. As such, this affordable, compact, access
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The Big Fix
Hope After Heroin
By Tracey Helton Mitchell
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jun 20th 2017.
The Big Fix by Tracey Helton MitchellHBO's documentary Black Tar Heroin: The Dark End of the Street (sometimes available on Youtube) was released in 1999. It followed several young people who were regular heroin users. One of them was Tracey. She went on to stop using drugs, and now she is married with three children. She works as a counselor to people with substance abuse problems. The Big Fix is her memoir. Most of The Big Fix is Mitchell's own story. There are a couple of sections at the end of the book about drug policy and advice for people who are trying to stop using. She is skeptical about the 12-step approach, which dis
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The Keeper of Lost Things
By Ruth Hogan
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jun 20th 2017.
The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth HoganRuth Hogan's debut novel is set in England, some time after the Second World War. Most of the time it does not feel contemporary, although there are occasional references to technology that show the novel is set in the present day. The story omits much reference to politics, modern culture or language, or even specific location, although London seems the likely place. There are references to shops like Marks & Spencer's. Narrators use words like "knickers" for women's underwear, which is a little dated.  It seems meant to appeal those who yearn for an apolitical English world with mil
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The Delight of Being Ordinary
A Road Trip with the Pope and the Dalai Lama
By Roland Merullo
Review by Beth Cholette, Ph.D. on Tue, Jun 13th 2017.
The Delight of Being Ordinary by Roland MerulloAuthor Roland Merullo has written twenty-two previous books of both fiction and non-fiction.  He is best-known for his prior series of road trip novels, Breakfast with Buddha, Lunch with Buddha,and Dinner with Buddha.  In these cross-country adventures, Merullo struck just the right chord, finding a balance of intelligence, humor, wit, inspiration, and poignancy.  Merullo recaptures this magic in his latest work, The Delight of Being Ordinary.  Whereas the Buddha books featured well-meaning but sometimes-befuddled American Otto Ringling, Ordinary introduces the reader to
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Transgender Children and Youth
Cultivating Pride and Joy with Families in Transition
By Elijah C. Nealy
Review by Hennie Weiss on Tue, Jun 13th 2017.
Transgender Children and Youth by Elijah C. NealyDespite transgender children receiving more attention, acceptance and understanding than previous decades, along with many of the rights of transgender children and youth being put into laws and practice, confusion, discrimination, misinformation and a lack of understanding in order to help, aid and guide transgender youth is still widespread in the United States and other parts of the world. In Transgender Children and Youth: Cultivating Pride and Joy with Families in Transition, Elijah C. Nealy, himself a transgender man, provides the reader with an extensive guide to not only understanding
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A Tragic Kind of Wonderful
A Novel
By Eric Lindstrom
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jun 13th 2017.
A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric LindstromMel Hannigan is nearly 17 years old and has rapid cycling bipolar disorder with mixed states. Her elder brother, who also had mental illness, died not that long ago, and she does not want to think about it. She calls her ability to avoid painful thoughts her superpower, but she eventually learns that she needs to process what happened. It's only near the end of the story in a dramatic final scene that we find out how her brother died. A Tragic Kind of Wonderful is an unusual YA novel in its depiction of a young woman with bipolar disorder. She has been diagnosed and she is taking a carefully
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The Animals' Agenda
Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age
By Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jun 13th 2017.
The Animals' Agenda by Marc Bekoff and Jessica PierceBekoff and Pierce argue that animals should be treated much better than they are. They start from the idea of the Five Freedoms, which have been widely used as a way of promoting animal welfare. They are a way of spelling out that idea that animals in human care should be treated well. They should not experience pain and discomfort, fear or distress, and they should be allowed to express their normal behavior. Building on this, Bekoff and Pierce address different ways in which humans use animals: the meat industry, scientific experimentation, zoos, pets, and the treatment and regulation of wil
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Moral Brains
The Neuroscience of Morality
By S. Matthew Liao
Review by Michael Klenk on Tue, Jun 6th 2017.
Moral Brains by S. Matthew LiaoMoral philosophers routinely invoke gut-feelings when they investigate their subject matter. They observe, for example, that 'we' seem to judge that harm is morally wrong or that 'we' think that moral judgements necessarily motivate. The 'we' in question is an often vague reference to at least the author, his like-minded peers, or perhaps even everyone. More robust approaches to studying morality would surely be welcome. The neuroscience of morality is a recent and exciting field of study that promises to shed more light onto the brain processes that underlie moral thought and behaviour. Mor
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The Ethics of the Family in Seneca
By Liz Gloyn
Review by Wendy C. Hamblet, Ph.D. on Tue, Jun 6th 2017.
The Ethics of the Family in Seneca by Liz GloynLiz Gloyn's new book The Ethics of the Family in Seneca offers a careful exegesis of letters and other key texts written by the famed Stoic sage, Seneca. The texts rallied here demonstrate that in the Stoic view, the family provides the primary setting for the development of virtuous character for individuals and for learning to conduct healthy human relations outside the home. The Stoic worldview places the individual at the center of concentric spheres of human interactions that increasingly reach from inner life outward to relationships in the external world. Thus oikeiósis is "the p
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No Place to Hide
DS Peter Gayle thriller series, Book 2
By Jack Slater
Review by Bob Lane on Tue, Jun 6th 2017.
No Place to Hide by Jack SlaterA house fire. A suspicious death. A serial killer to catch.   When a body is found in a house fire DS Peter Gayle is called to the scene. It looks like an accidental death, but the evidence just doesn't add up. With only one murder victim they can't make any calls, but it looks like a serial killer is operating in Exeter and it's up to Pete to track him down. But with his wife still desperate for news on their missing son and his boss watching his every move, the pressure is on for Pete to bring the murderer to justice before it is too late. A few years ago, I attended, with a small
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Tell Me Everything You Don't Remember
The Stroke That Changed My Life
By Christine Hyung-Oak Lee
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jun 6th 2017.
Tell Me Everything You Don't Remember by Christine Hyung-Oak LeeChristine Hyung-Oak Lee is from a Korean family. She was born in New York, and went to school in Queens. She had a stroke at 33 in 2007, which she wrote about in BuzzFeed in 2014. At the start of the book, Lee focuses mainly on the experience of the stroke and the recovery process. But as she goes on, it turns out that she had a lot of problems before the stroke, and these also played a part in the effects of the stroke. As a child of immigrant parents, she found it difficult negotiating between her family values and the culture around her. She had problems with substance abuse and relationshi
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The Routledge Companion to Free Will
By Kevin Timpe, Megham Griffith, and Neil Levy (Editors)
Review by William Simkulet, Ph.D. on Tue, May 30th 2017.
The Routledge Companion to Free Will by Kevin Timpe, Megham Griffith, and Neil Levy (Editors)The Routledge Companion to Free Will is a thorough and engaging review of classic and contemporary positions on free will featuring 60 new essays from leading philosophers written for an academic audience.  Each essay includes a fair bibliography, a short list of suggested readings, and a list of related topics within the collection.   In the brief one-page introduction to this collection, the editors contend that this book serves both as an “advanced introduction” to free will, as well as a guide for experts; in many respects, they have succeeded in this enterprise.
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Developing the Virtues
Integrating Perspectives
By Julia Annas, Darcia Narvaez, and Nancy E. Snow (Editors)
Review by Ben Mulvey, Ph.D. on Tue, May 30th 2017.
Developing the Virtues by Julia Annas, Darcia Narvaez, and Nancy E. Snow (Editors)It is well known among academic philosophers that the study of the virtues, a preoccupation among the ancients, has become again a respectable field of specialization and study.  The editors of Developing the Virtues concur.  "The last thirty years has seen a resurgence of interest in virtue among philosophers" (1).  But there has been a parallel growth in interest among psychologists in what has come to be called moral development, how moral thinking changes as individuals age.  Just as our scientific thinking changes as we age (how a kindergartener understands and explain
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Sex, Family, and the Culture Wars
By Mark J. Cherry
Review by Robert Scott Stewart, Ph.D. on Tue, May 30th 2017.
Sex, Family, and the Culture Wars by Mark J. Cherry Welcome to the 1950s, when men were men and women were women, and everything was just fine. Then, according to Cherry, various social movements of the 1960s happened, especially women's liberation, and things stating going downhill. This was exacerbated in subsequent decades by new rights movements, like the one fought by the LGBTQ community, and the advent of new philosophical movements, especially secular liberalism, post modernism and social constructionism. According to Cherry, this has brought about a truly dire crisis which has attacked, most prominently, the sanctity of the 'traditional
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