Things were different immediately following the Second World War. Everyone’s father had been ‘away’ and we all liked marching and uniforms. Everyone’s mother had been holding the country together and helping the grandparents. The author was born one year after the end of the war, suffered head injury, was troubled by dyslexia, had a funny name (a significant handicap in those times) and was raised by very odd parents.
Teachers, Cubs and the people living next door helped him sort things out (a bit), then he dipped briefly into the luscious sixties and eventually ground a path through conventional adulthood.
This is a first-hand account, clearly written by a professor of psychiatry at the University of Tasmania – his skills have been polished in the process of writing four hundred professional papers, chapters and books. It is powerful, informative, original and sympathetic.
There is mention of the milkman and baker being brought around by cart horses, getting the cane, the ill-advised closure of the mental hospital and the very latest electromagnetic treatment of mental disorders. There is darkness and humour and a good supply of quotes from the greatest minds in history.