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Soviet Psychoprisons - Harvey Fireside

Soviet Psychoprisons

By: Harvey Fireside, Zhores A. Medvedev (Foreword by)

Paperback Published: 1st January 1982
ISBN: 9780393000658
Number Of Pages: 224

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A useful account of the dissidents struggle to expose psychiatric abuse and embarrass the regime. [Fireside s] chapters on Patients, Doctors, and Resisters are especially suited for readers with little background on Soviet dissent. The defiance of activists like Vladimir Bukovsky, Semyon Gluzman, and Alexander Podrabinek did much to deflate the government s omnipotence. . . .Fireside describes their activity well, he has also compiled important primary material. These documents, including A Manual on Psychiatry for Dissidents, which Bukovsky and Gluzman wrote in a labor camp, are note easy to find, and Fireside has performed a service by making them available. Joshua Rubenstein, New England Coordinator of Amnesty International, U.S.A. and author of Soviet Dissidents, in Commentary

Industry Reviews

The use of psychiatric institutions to incarcerate political dissenters in the USSR has become widely known in the west, but the twisted rationality behind this form of imprisonment has not necessarily been understood. Though Fireside (Ithaca College), an activist in Amnesty International, does not give many details that are not available elsewhere, heat least tries to come to grips with the official madness that sees insanity in dissent. His short book, divided into chapters on patients and doctors, is based on accounts by previously incarcerated reformers like Vladimir Bukovsky, Pyotr Grigorenko, and Leonid Plyushch, and on documents accumulated by the World Psychiatric Association - which condemned Soviet psychiatry in 1977 - and Amnesty International. Fireside stresses that, given a psychiatric world-view that sees mental states as directly tied to an external world of material forces, the attempt to pursue reform in a society already officially "socialist" can only be a sign of mental imbalance. This crude assumption, which carries with it a disdain for philosophical reflection or critical thought of any kind, is shared by the KGB and psychiatrists alike, according to Fireside, and helps to account - along with simple self-interest - for the observed readiness of doctors to do the KGB's bidding without being asked. To support his contention that Soviet psychiatrists' diagnoses are fraudulent, Fireside has appended material written by former mental patients, and a transcript of a meeting between psychiatrists and Plyushch held in New York after his emigration, all of which attest to the dogged sanity of the accused. An accessible, up-to-the-minute briefing. (Kirkus Reviews)

ISBN: 9780393000658
ISBN-10: 0393000656
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 224
Published: 1st January 1982
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.59 x 13.97  x 1.3
Weight (kg): 0.29

Earn 58 Qantas Points
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