In this deeply thoughtful, descriptive and sympathetic book, Tom Burns reviews the historical development of psychiatry. What he reveals is that mental illnesses are intimately tied to that which makes us human in the first place and have always followed us. The drive to relieve the suffering they cause is even more human. Psychiatry, for all its flaws, currently represents our best attempts to discharge this most human of impulses. It is not something we can just ignore or decide to leave. It is our necessary shadow.