Thursday, March 5, 2009

My Home, My Prison (Jacqueline Winspear)

From The New York Times Sunday Book Review --

My Home, My Prison --

Reviews by MARILYN STASIO --
Published: March 5, 2009 --

Jacqueline Winspear carries on her champion work on behalf of traumatized war veterans, “men who are still waiting for their armistice,” as she puts it, in AMONG THE MAD (Holt, $25), the sixth novel in an outstanding historical series featuring Maisie Dobbs, a battlefield nurse in World War I who has gone into practice as an investigative psychologist in postwar London. By 1931, England has finally begun emptying its mental institutions of the 80,000 men who’ve been given a diagnosis of shell shock, while ignoring those “who are in a cell in their mind.” But when one of these walking wounded detonates a grenade on Christmas Eve, Maisie is tapped for a government investigation into terrorist groups that recruit mentally unstable veterans to carry out their anarchist agendas.

Maisie may have tenuous credentials for serving in such high-powered company, but Winspear uses her visits to hospitals and mental asylums to document the outdated protocols used for treating war-damaged psyches. Like Maisie, the novel’s storytelling style is efficient and humorless, but deeply empathetic.

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