5 Insane Historical Generals

A shocking number of military leaders have suffered from mental health issues, even as they held the lives of the men they led in their hands. At times ambition, politics, inheritance or the trauma of war have created commanders with varying degrees of insanity.

Sir William Erskine

The Duke of Wellington was plagued by new officers thrust upon him by the British government; men whose status came not from ability but from their background and connections. None was worse than Sir William Erskine.

By the time he was sent to serve…

Source: 5 Insane Historical Generals

“I gave Mary a bit of cake, and then I killed her, wretch that I am” – Voices from Broadmoor

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I. Crime and Trial On the morning of April 21 1864, M. D. saw her husband to the front door as he left for work, as she did every morning. After he had gone, she returned to the kitchen and murdere…

Source: “I gave Mary a bit of cake, and then I killed her, wretch that I am” – Voices from Broadmoor

The American Joan of Arc Goes Insane

Author Adrienne Morris

Firebrand Young Lady Firebrand Young Lady

Do you ever sometimes wish 19th century asylums still existed for those troublesome relatives who make family gatherings so trying?

My great grandmother was sent to an asylumbecause she had lucrative properties in Jersey City, NJ. Her evil daughter (my grandmother’s sister) wanted the brownstones and vacant squares as an early inheritance so she had her mother put away. My great grandfather tried to have her released, but somehow couldn’t, so after his wife committed suicide in the asylum, he did the same.

My grandmother was offered a piece of the inheritance but preferred to live poor as a church mouse with her husband and 9 children a few towns away in a haunted house.

Anna Elizabeth Dickinson (The Joan of Arc of the Union) came from Philadelphia Quaker stock. Her father died when she was two and the family could have used a few Jersey…

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Insanity and the Lunatic Asylum

Culture and Anarchy

insanity and the lunatic asylum_frontInsanity and the Lunatic Asylum in the Nineteenth Century was published in December, a book which grew out of a conference I organised back in 2010 (you can read a report here), and which I’ve been editing with a colleague, Thomas Knowles. It’s a project which has been a long time coming, but we’re delighted with the final book and immensely grateful to our contributors, who have produced some outstanding chapters for the book, and to our editors at Pickering & Chatto. We’ve just had our first review, on the Criminal Lunacy blog written by David J. Vaughan, and I’m delighted it’s so positive about the book. Among other things, it says ‘it opens up a fascinating treasure chest of anecdotal and statistical material,’ and ‘as a collection of thought on the heavily nuanced subject of insanity and its place in – or, more accurately, beyond – nineteenth…

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