My Age of Anxiety

Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind

Stossel, Scott

Book - 2013
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
My Age of Anxiety
The author recounts his lifelong battle with anxiety, showing the many manifestations of the disorder as well as the countless treatments that have been developed to counteract it, and provides a history of the efforts to understand this common form of mental illness.

Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, [2013]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780307269874
Branch Call Number: 616.8522 S8883m 2013
Characteristics: viii, 400 pages ;,25 cm


From Library Staff

Everything you always wanted to know about anxiety! Scott Stossel traces both the history of anxiety in general and his own lifelong battle with it in this highly informative and entertaining book.

A riveting, revealing, and moving account of the author’s struggles with anxiety, and of the history of efforts by scientists, philosophers, and writers to understand the condition. If you suffer from anxiety, or know someone who does, this book is a must read.

From the critics

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Jul 26, 2014
  • writermala rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Whether you suffer from anxiety, or have a loved one who does, or are just curious as to what it's all about this is the right place to start looking. Stossel, in a no holds barred account of his own battle with anxiety explores the problem thoroughly and from the dawn of time. The book is replete with quotes like, "Anxiety is the most prominent mental characteristic of Occidental civilization." Stossel himself, with the help of his anxiety defines anxiety as "apprehension about future suffering - the fearful anticipation of an unbearable catastrophe one is hopeless to prevent." He attributes the blame to our abundance of choices. The paradox of choice is the idea that as the freedom to choose increases, so does anxiety.
This thorough examination of anxiety and its causes is bound to set many of us free from guilt about a condition we have no control over.

Apr 24, 2014
  • Jane60201 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This seemed like such a long book and having read the Atlantic article by this author, I was loath to tackle it. I am glad I did. What I found interesting was not the vignettes of the author's own life but the intellectual history of mental illness that he so carefully researched. It makes one understand that the current "explanation" of a psychiatric problem is not necessarily the answer but part of an evolution of thought that will continue.

Feb 23, 2014
  • MOommen rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Excellent read - very informative, well researched, interesting and touching personal account. Recommend to anyone who has grappled with anxiety.

Feb 13, 2014
  • MaxineML rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Part memoir, part history and part exposition - this is a wide-reaching and phenomenal work on anxiety (and various other "nervous disorders") in modern society.

From ancient greek physicians and philosophers, to renaissance works on mental health, to the creation of the DSM versions 1 through 5, Stossel covers everything. The really fascinating aspects to the story were when Stossel brought it down to the personal level with discussions of his great-grandfather's struggle with anxiety, and his own lifelong struggle with anxiety.

The footnotes in this book are astounding in the information they give - some of them could probably have been integrated into the text itself, some were excellent asides. Parts of the book did get a bit technical and dry, but those were few and far between. However, I wish Stossel had been more comfortable discussing his own issues and treatments - this would have humanized the idea of anxiety, as well as the true struggles of people who have this disorder, as well as those with similar mental-health struggles.

Truly a great work - and I wouldn't be surprised if this is considered one of the best non-fiction books of 2014!


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