Book Cover of the Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness by Susannah Cahalanby Susannah Cahalan

Shortlisted for the 2020 Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize

Named a Best Book of 2020 by The Guardian * The Telegraph * The Times

“One of America’s most courageous young journalists” and the author of the #1 New York Timesbestselling memoir Brain on Fire investigates the shocking mystery behind the dramatic experiment that revolutionized modern medicine (NPR).

 Doctors have struggled for centuries to define insanity—how do you diagnose it, how do you treat it, how do you even know what it is? In search of an answer, in the 1970s a Stanford psychologist named David Rosenhan and seven other people—sane, healthy, well-adjusted members of society—went undercover into asylums around America to test the legitimacy of psychiatry’s labels.

Interview with the Author

Podcast Art for Q&A from CSPANQ&A
Susannah Cahalan, “The Great Pretender”
11/10/19        59 min

Podcast Art for Commonwealth Club of CaliforniaCommonwealth Club of California
Journalist Susannah Cahalan: Rethinking Our Understanding of Mental Illness
11/26/19        57 min

Podcast Art for Little AtomsaLittle Atoms
Susannah Cahalan’s The Great Pretender
1/13/20         32 min

Podcast Art for The Maris ReviewThe Maris Review
Episode 51; Susannah Cahalan
5/14/20        24 min

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