A Review of
No One Cares About Crazy People:
The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America.
Reviewed by Ben Brazil
with the author of this book…
When Scott Walker was in the midst of his successful run for Wisconsin’s governorship, Milwaukee County Hospital faced allegations that its mentally ill patients had suffered vicious abuse. As Walker’s team worried about political fall-out – he was Milwaukee County executive at the time – an aid’s email offered reassurance. “No one,” she explained, “cares about crazy people.”
Ron Powers’ new book, which draws its title from that callous phrase, provides infuriating proof that it is entirely accurate, as well as heartbreaking evidence that it is not. On the infuriating side, Powers provides a nuanced, multi-layered history of the callousness, ignorance, greed, and ideological rigidities that have left the nation’s mentally ill in “conditions of atrocity” (xix).