Donna Chavez, Booklist

“Relying heavily upon Freeman’s notes, letters, and journals, El-Hai reconstructs the life of a man whose main mission, aside from personal glory, was to help the helpless… Driven, egotistical, brilliant, and focused, Freeman is as fascinating as the chronicle of twentieth-century psychiatry in which El-Hai sets his story.”

Read More

Richard Lipkin, Scientific American Mind

“A story of desperation among thousands of patients, families, clinicians and policymakers struggling to manage a population seemingly crippled by illnesses for which there was no help. It is also a worrisome account of physicians groping for solutions to problems that they could not adequately address. In this sense, El-Hai’s treatment of this medical saga…

Read More

Andrew Scull, The Los Angeles Times

“One of the many virtues of El-Hai’s text is the rich detail he provides about Freeman’s life and ideas. His readers will thus be able to judge Walter Freeman for themselves and decide whether he is, as El-Hai would have it, “a maverick medical genius” or, as others have concluded, a moral monster.”

Read More

Karen R. Long, Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Jack El-Hai has written an absorbing, unsettling and cautionary story of the man who sold the lowly ice pick as the surgical solution to the mental illness of tens of thousands of people…. The author, a respected science journalist, started his research assuming that Freeman was akin to Josef Mengele. He ends this book with…

Read More