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Traumatic Pasts
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Book description

Traumatic Pasts, originally published in 2001, offers a variety of perspectives on mental trauma in war, medicine, culture and society in modern European and American history. Its primary goals are: to provide a generous sampling of the best of the historical scholarship about trauma; to indicate the empirical, analytical and methodological scope of this work; and to present some of the conceptual and methodological issues inherent in writing about the subject. The book operates on the premise that the historical humanities have something crucially important to say about trauma; its essays may be read, in part, as attempts to introduce a deep historical dimension into ongoing debates and controversies. However, it is important to stress that these essays are not simply addressed the concerns; rather, they reflect a shared conviction that trauma opens up fresh perspectives in the study of social and cultural history.

Reviews

Review of the hardback:‘The introductory essay should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in the history of trauma within psychiatry. The book represents a successful fusion of cultural history and the history of ideas, and promises to intrigue historians and other readers for many years to come.’

Joanna Bourke Source: History Today

Review of the hardback:‘Each of the essays in this collection is a gem.’

Source: British Medical Journal

Review of the hardback:‘… makes for a fascinating read … there is a depth of analysis that is refreshing … the introductory essay should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in the history of trauma within psychiatry. the book represents a successful fusion of cultural history and the history of ideas, and promises to intrigue historians and other readers for many years to come.’

Source: History Today

Review of the hardback:‘… it succeeds in providing a considerably more nuanced examination of the history of trauma, with an important comparative dimension.’

Source: The Times Literary Supplement

Review of the hardback:' … with the publication of Traumatic Pasts the historical study of trauma can be said to have achieved intellectual maturity. … detailed and thoughful essays add new dimensions to our understanding of trauma, past and present, and provide important guidelines for future research.'

Source: History Workshop Journal

Review of the hardback:‘In its balanced tone, careful documentation, and attentiveness to gender, class and culture, this … is a model for scholars of trauma in many disciplines.’

Source: German History

Review of the hardback:‘… an exemplary introduction, in which the intellectual lineage of post-traumatic stress disorder is fully set out.’

Source: Social History of Medicine

Review of the hardback:' … this is a welcome and valuable book which adds significantly to our knowledge.'

Source: Medical History

Review of the hardback:‘… this book represents a good example of the potential of comparative studies to cast fresh light on what may seem a familiar subject. Especially striking are the insights it reveals into the contrasting French and American responses to traumatized soldiers during the First world War.’

Source: Annals of Science

Review of the hardback:‘The book’s primary goals are to provide a generous sample of the best new historical scholarship on trauma; to indicate the empirical, analytical, and methodological scope of this work; and to present some of the conceptual and methodological issues inherent in writing about the subject … All these goals are achieved in a readable style which … will appeal to a general readership beyond trauma experts.’

Source: German Historical Institute Bulletin

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