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Speaking of Sadness


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About the Author

David A. Karp, PhD, is a Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Boston College where he taught for 42 years. He has written or co-authored ten books and more than fifty journal articles and book chapters. His work appears in such periodicals as Symbolic Interaction, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Journal of Qualitative Health Research, the Gerontologist, and the International Journal of Aging and Human Development. His work has largely clustered in three areas: urban life and culture, aging, and the study of mental health and illness.


This sociological consideration of illness and disease in contemporary America comes from a professor (Boston Coll.) who uses his own suffering, treatment, and theory along with reports of 50 others who volunteered to talk with him about their major depressive episodes. Karp writes well, addressing psychological, chemical, and cultural perspectives, with much credit to C. Wright Mills, Erving Goffman, and Arthur Kleinman. Many psychiatrists would agree that too little attention is paid to the nature of the pain and the impact of social context on our definitions of normality and treatment. "Self-help" comes under fire, too, as shallow ideology in a time of advancing anomie. A careful, honest writer, Karp has produced a classic equal to William Styron's Darkness Visible (LJ 8/90) and Clifford Beers's A Mind That Found Itself (1908). Highly recommended for sufferers, would-be healers, and anyone interested in the effects of depression. E. James Lieberman, Library Journal
The millions of people who suffer hard and long with excruciating depressions will recognize themselves in these pages....Speaking of Sadness provides an open challenge to wrestle with the difficult questions. * Martha Manning, The New York Times Book Review *
A careful, honest writer, Karp has produced a classic equal to William Styron's Darkness Visible. * Library Journal *
Finally a book from the a scholar who admits to knowing this aspect of the human condition in his own person and has seen beyond the superstition of the 'medical model,' expressed in the lived experience of real and beautifully articulate people who, like himself, have been there. * Kate Millett, author of The Loony Bin Trip *

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