Everyone knows that antidepressant drugs are miracles of modern medicine. Professor Irving Kirsch knew this as well as anyone. But, as he discovered during his research, there is a problem with what everyone knows about antidepressant drugs. It isn't true.
How did antidepressant drugs gain their reputation as a magic bullet for depression? And why has it taken so long for the story to become public? Answering these questions takes us to the point where the lines between clinical research and marketing disappear altogether.
Using the Freedom of Information Act, Kirsch accessed clinical trials that were withheld, by drug companies, from the public and from the doctors who prescribe antidepressants. What he found, and what he documents here, promises to bring revolutionary change to the way our society perceives, and consumes, antidepressants.
The Emperor's New Drugs exposes what we have failed to see before: depression is not caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain; antidepressants are significantly more dangerous than other forms of treatment and are only marginally more effective than placebos; and, there are other ways to combat depression, treatments that don't only include the empty promise of the antidepressant prescription.
This is not a book about alternative medicine and its outlandish claims. This is a book about fantasy and wishful thinking in the heart of clinical medicine, about the seductions of myth, and the final stubbornness of facts.
What comes first: the character of the times, or the characters who give it theirs?
The Strangest End charts the trajectories of the characters who fell from power in the bloody breakdown of Europe’s old order between 1917 and 1924, and those who for whom the restless chaos marked the beginning of an unlikely rise to fame.
Year by year, we follow Kaiser Wilhelm into his wood-chopping Dutch exile, and Lenin from his Swiss library-desk to his muddled end as an invalid in revolutionary Russia gone stale. Ernest Hemingway criss-crosses the Atlantic in search of himself: soldier, hack journalist, writer, fisherman. Surrealism is born in a Paris attic. Europe suffers a nervous collapse, alternating between revolution and reaction. America takes fright. A Viennese doctor of eclectic tastes becomes an intellectual celebrity. An Austrian ex-soldier touts himself as the tribune of the German people.
Outside the classic frames of war and peace, these all-too-human tales – funny, tragic and fateful – tell a wider story of the exuberant dreams, dark fears, grubby ambition and sheer chance which marked Europe’s post-war metamorphosis, and the century to come.
Unrivalled in scope and brimming with human drama, A People’s Tragedy is the most vivid, moving and comprehensive history of the Russian Revolution available today.
‘A modern masterpiece’ Andrew Marr
‘The most moving account of the Russian Revolution since Doctor Zhivago’ Independent
Opening with a panorama of Russian society, from the cloistered world of the Tsar to the brutal life of the peasants, A People’s Tragedy follows workers, soldiers, intellectuals and villagers as their world is consumed by revolution and then degenerates into violence and dictatorship. Drawing on vast original research, Figes conveys above all the shocking experience of the revolution for those who lived it, while providing the clearest and most cogent account of how and why it unfolded.
Illustrated with over 100 photographs and now including a new introduction that reflects on the revolution’s centennial legacy, A People’s Tragedy is a masterful and definitive record of one of the most important events in modern history.