R.D. Laing

Adrian C. Laing, Author Peter Owen Publishers $52.95 (248p) ISBN 978-0-7206-0934-9
British psychiatrist, guru, LSD therapist and critic of mainstream psychotherapy with his theory of madness--one that questioned the sanity of society itself--Ronald Laing (1927-1989) neglected and abused his own family, according to this painfully candid, demythologizing biography written by the second of his six sons. Ronald Laing's relationship with his undemonstrative mother left him feeling emotionally deprived and bewildered throughout his life. In the mid-1960s, he transformed a London settlement house into a center for schizophrenics, who were given hallucinogenic drugs under supervision; yet it became a refuge mainly for dropouts attracted to Laing's radical-chic charisma. His wife, Anne, humiliated by the open secret of his having a girlfriend, left him in 1966, taking the children, including Adrian, then nine years old. Laing's last two decades were a ``constant blur'' of touring, drinking binges and disruptive behavior, reports the author, a lawyer in London, who writes seemingly without bitterness in a sad, revelatory portrait. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
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