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Heather Vacek

Mar 30, 2016

Madness

American Protestant Responses to Mental Illness

Baylor University Press 2015

purchase at bookshop.org Should the member of a Christian congregation be injured in a car accident, that person will likely be the subject of public prayers and hospitality. But if that same person suffers a mental breakdown, reactions will likely be much more complex and awkward. In her fascinating book, Madness: American Protestant Responses to Mental Illness (Baylor University Press, 2015), Dr. Heather Vacek examines how American Protestants have struggled with the problem of mental illness, and how their relationship with it has changed over time. Vacek reveals in her well-organized and sensitive work the thought of five Protestants whose lives were deeply touched by mental illness: Cotton Mather, Benjamin Rush, Dorothea Dix, Anton Boisen, and Karl Menninger. Vacek then ends this well-researched book with a historically-informed theological reflection of how Christians can help those afflicted with mental illness.

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