Heart's Work: Civil War Heroine and Champion of the Mentally Ill, Dorothea Lynde Dix

Charles Schlaifer, Author, Lucy Freeman, With Stan Clark Military Books $19.95 (175p) ISBN 978-1-55778-419-3
In an era when woman's work centered primarily on hearth and home. Dorothea Lynde Dix won the respect of men and women alike through her quiet determination and selfless dedication to help those imprisoned in troubled minds. Freud was just a boy during the years Dix traveled across the United States, later to Europe and Japan, to found scores of hospitals for the indigent insane. Weakened by chronic tuberculosis, Dix doggedly pursued her cause. During the Civil War, she put her work for the mentally ill on hold to supervise nurses who treated wounded soldiers. Despite her ill health, Dix lived to be 85, dying in 1887 in the first hospital she had founded, in Trenton, N.J. Schlaifer (coauthor of Action for Mental Health ) and Freeman ( Fight Against Fears ) tell Dix's story in a matter-of-fact, somewhat plodding manner, using letters to illustrate the profound effect she had on her friends and fellow citizens. The last chapter attempts to analyze the psychodynamic forces impelling Dix to forgo marriage and motherhood and help outcasts. Although interesting, it seems like an afterthought. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1991
Release date: 11/01/1991
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