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  • Published: 6 February 2014
  • ISBN: 9780141966908
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

The Last Asylum

A Memoir of Madness in our Times

A haunting literary memoir of a journey through mental illness and the psychiatric health care system

The Last Asylum begins with Barbara Taylor's visit to the innocuously named Princess Park Manor in Friern Barnet, North London -- a picture of luxury and repose. But this is the former site of one of England's most infamous lunatic asylums, the Middlesex County Pauper Lunatic Asylum at Colney Hatch. At its peak this asylum housed nearly 3,000 patients -- among them, in the 1980s, Barbara Taylor herself.

The Last Asylum is Taylor's powerful account of her battle with mental illness, set inside the wider story of the end of the UK asylum system.

  • Published: 6 February 2014
  • ISBN: 9780141966908
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

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Praise for The Last Asylum

Eloquent, compassionate, and utterly absorbing. A book about family and friendship, about the complexities of memory, about care and the failure of care, The Last Asylum is the best sort of memoir, transcending the purely personal to confront a larger social history.

Sarah Waters

This superb book combines both the experience of the patient and the eye of the historian. Riveting, insightful and relentlessly honest, it is both social history and memoir, and makes an important contribution to contemporary debates on the treatment of mental distress

Darian Leader

We believe our response to mental illness is more enlightened, kinder and effective than that of the Victorians who built the asylums. Can we be sure? Barbara Taylor's sombre investigation, calling on personal experience, challenges complacency, exposes shallow thinking, and points out the flaws and dangers of treatment on the cheap. It is a wise, considered and timely book

Hilary Mantel

Beautiful . . . it is hard to write well enough about this book because it is so good

Susie Orbach, Independent

Moving, brave and intelligent

Susan Hill, The Times

Exquisitely written and provocative

Sunday Times

Dazzling . . . a tale that compels you to keep turning the pages . . . a great achievement, full of life and hope

Sunday Telegraph