This volume consists of critical reviews of the most important works in psychiatry ever published and excerpts from those works. For psychotherapy, more than any other profession, books define the field. Most therapists have a personal list of books that for them have been memorable, perhaps even mutative, in influencing their thinking and clinical practice. But in addition to such individual favourites, choices are made at different times by the larger society and by one's professional group. As a result, a particular book comes to be regarded for some time as the book of the moment, after which it either sinks into oblivion or passes into the respectability of acceptance as an essential part of any reference list. If it does survive for long, though, it will inevitably come to be seen rather differently over time. Starting in 1982, the editors, Drs. Sidney Crown and Hugh Freeman, commissioned respected scholars to contribute commentary on seminal books in the field to a series in the "British Journal of Psychiatry" called "Books Reconsidered".
In most cases, the contributors themselves had known the books over a long period, so that their own personal development as professionals was intimately connected with the works themselves and how they have stood up to time and circumstance. This collection includes all "Books Reconsidered" pieces that were published between the inception of the series in 1982 and the opening months of 1992. The editors have tried to cover as many fields as possible that are relevant to psychiatry as a whole and to its subspecialties. Every mental health professional should find these critiques both interesting and stimulating.