Great and Desperate Cures

by Elliot Valenstein. Haste Hooks, $19.95. Treatment of mental illness by shock or surgery has lost much of the popularity it once enjoved, and Professor Valenstein’s history of such energetic measures, while disconcertingly technical in some respects, explains why. The self-interested medical politicking he describes is alarming, as is the sloppiness of the records that w-ere kept concerning supposed cures. T he author fears that similarly radical therapeutic methods may be creeping back into favor. His book is designed to warn against them.