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The Age of Anxiety: A History of America's Turbulent Affair with Tranquilizers (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 30. Dezember 2008

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O magazine
“A fascinating history of our dependence on downers…. Thoughtful, timely, and evenhanded."

“Readable, informative account of how cultural, economic and political forces have shaped the way Americans address anxiety…. Untangles the variety of complex factors that have shaped Americans’ increasing use of tranquilizers amid conflicting attitudes toward them.”

New York Post
“Very accessible and well-researched.”

Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“[A] lively and thoughtful history of tranquilizers…. [Tone] is a diligent researcher, and she deftly covers the tangle of historical, medical, legal and cultural issues here without lapsing into jargon – no easy feat with a subject like this.”

“[A] smart and crisp history of American tranquilizer use.”

New England Journal of Medicine
“A superb history that illustrates which cultural groups embraced tranquilizers, how these drugs were initially wildly popular but were subsequently rejected, and the rise of SSRIs as their replacements…. Informative and intriguing.”

“Excellent book…. A strong historical account of the most important topic of our interior lives – and noninterior as well.... Great reporting and incisive treatment of the origins of the modern neurosis industry."

Reason magazine
The Age of Anxiety, Andrea Tone’s revelatory history of tranquilizers in America, complicates the usual tale of patriarchal oppression, in which greedy pharmaceutical companies profit by keeping housewives placid and subservient…. Without minimizing the hazards of tranquilizers, Tone suggests that the backlash against them has caused more harm than the uncritical embrace that preceded it. She also shows that a drug’s reputation is a function of culture as much as chemistry.”

The National Catholic Reporter 

“[A] captivating account of the development and use of medications in the treatment of anxiety in the United States…. [Tone] presents a carefully researched and thoughtful narrative…. The Age of Anxiety serves as a cautionary tale as to how social and political structures can overshadow scientific data in professional and public discourse about medical treatments.”


Anxious Americans have increasingly pursued peace of mind through pills and prescriptions. In 2006, the National Institute of Mental Health estimated that 40 million adult Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder in any given year: more than double the number thought to have such a disorder in 2001. Anti-anxiety drugs are a billion-dollar business. Yet as recently as 1955, when the first tranquilizer-Miltown-went on the market, pharmaceutical executives worried that there wouldnt be interest in anxiety-relief. At mid-century, talk therapy remained the treatment of choice. But Miltown became a sensation-the first psychotropic blockbuster in United States history. By 1957, Americans had filled 36 million prescriptions. Patients seeking made-to-order tranquility emptied drugstores, forcing pharmacists to post signs reading more Miltown tomorrow. The drugs financial success and cultural impact revolutionized perceptions of anxiety and its treatment, inspiring the development of other lifestyle drugs including Valium and Prozac.

In The Age of Anxiety, Andrea Tone draws on a broad array of original sources-manufacturers files, FDA reports, letters, government investigations, and interviews with inventors, physicians, patients, and activists-to provide the first comprehensive account of the rise of Americas tranquilizer culture. She transports readers from the bomb shelters of the Cold War to the scientific optimism of the Baby Boomers, to the just say no Puritanism of the late 1970s and 1980s. A vibrant history of Americas long and turbulent affair with tranquilizers, The Age of Anxiety casts new light on what it has meant to seek synthetic solutions to everyday angst.

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7 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A good historian tells how tranx came to calm our angst, sort of 21. Februar 2009
Von Edward Durney - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
An academic historian, Andrea Tone looks at the history behind anxiety and the tranquilizers used to calm it. Other books also look at how Americans use a lot of drugs like antidepressants and tranquilizers to improve their lives rather than fight a physical illness. But those authors typically push their own view on the subject. A good historian, Tone does not.

Indeed, it's hard to know what Tone herself thinks about tranquilizers. That's good. We readers can learn the history and make a judgment for ourselves. Tone starts with a look at hundreds of years of history of mental disorders, and how anxiety played its role in that history. Then she lays out the history of the first tranquilizer, Miltown, and how it fit in with the society that took it up with such enthusiasm.

Tone ends with the backlash against tranquilizers. As society continued to change, many found that the drugs could bite instead of comfort. Instant gratification came with a price, it seemed. A price many found too high to pay.

The Age of Anxiety is not a perfect book. It turns a bit tedious at times. Not a book that was hard to put down, it was instead occasionally hard to pick up again. That said, I did find myself drawn back into the story, wanting to know what happened next.

Many interesting glimpses into social history come out of the Age of Anxiety. Some I had known, but forgotten. For instance, how heavily the threat of nuclear war hung over the America of the 1950s and 1960s. That was a worry that even I had as a young child in that era. Tone points out that in 1959 two-thirds of American adults said in a poll that nuclear war was the issue that concerned them the most.

Other glimpses I did not know. Tone says that medical records show that President John F. Kennedy used tranquilizers, among several other drugs for pain and disease. Milton Berle used the first tranquilizer Miltown, joking that his name should be "Miltown" Berle, and promoted it heavily.

For me, the pleasure in the book was the history, told as stories of people's lives, especially scientists Frank Berger (inventor of Miltown) and Leo Sternbach (inventor of Librium and Valium). But also former First Lady Betty Ford's struggle with drug addiction, and that of Barbara Gordon (author of the troubling but entrancing book I'm Dancing As Fast As I Can). The stories make the book.

The Age of Anxiety delivers more than just reading pleasure. It traces the drugmaking industry from its early poverty to its current top rank in profitability among industries. That thread weaves together with science and social history to make a thought-provoking fabric. Tone does not single out any heroes or villains. Nor does she say whether these drugs are a dream or a nightmare.

But any reader will think about those questions as Tone unfolds her story. That makes The Age of Anxiety a valuable book as we as a society face the troubles every age brings.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Compelling and Enjoyable 29. April 2010
Von John Holman - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
A long time user of minor tranquilizers myself, and an advocate of infrequent, though never daily, benzodiazepine use (currently prescribed Valium, though previously experienced with Klonopin, Ativan, Xanax and Librium) I found this book of great personal interest. It is well researched and generally entertaining, if a bit dry at times. The history of minor tranquilizers is a fascinating one and the author of this book does it great justice. I was particularly interested in the details of the Miltown craze, a drug of once universal popularity now relegated almost entirely to the chambers of history. Whether your interest is casual or scholarly, by all means pick up this book.
Five Stars 6. November 2014
Von damali brown - Veröffentlicht auf
Very well written!
0 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Any health library needs this survey of American tranquilizer usage 11. Mai 2009
Von Midwest Book Review - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
History and psychiatry blend in THE AGE OF ANXIETY: A HISTORY OF AMERICA'S TURBULENT AFFAIR WITH TRANQUILIZERS. The last century has seen a huge increase in anti-anxiety medication: a trend Andrea Tone charts through manufacturers' files, FDA reports, government investigations, and interviews with patients, physicians and activists alike. Any health library needs this survey of American tranquilizer usage and its physical and social impact.
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