Main content

The Magic Years

Episode 7 of 10

Matthew Smith discusses The Magic Years, a manuscript found in the American Psychiatric Association archives, written when the eradication of mental illness was believed possible.

Matthew Smith, a New Generation Thinker, goes deep into the American Psychiatric Association archives, where lies an unpublished historical manuscript entitled The Magic Years. Written during the early 1970s, it eulogised the giant strides of post-war American psychiatry made in this period of hope and promise when even the complete eradication of mental illness was thought possible. As a medical historian Matthew argues that, while psychiatrists today might dismiss The Magic Years - and the science behind it - as misguided or naïve, it actually has much to teach us.

New Generation Thinker Matthew Smith is from the University of Strathclyde.

Recorded as part of Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival in front of an audience at Sage Gateshead.
New Generation Thinkers is scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find academics who can turn their research into radio programmes.

Producer: Zahid Warley.

Available now

15 minutes

Broadcast

Free Thinking Festival 2017

Free Thinking Festival 2017

Browse all programmes, clips and features from this year's festival on The Speed of Life.

The Book that Changed Me

The Book that Changed Me

Five figures from the arts and science introduce books that changed their lives and work.

Download The Essay

Download The Essay

Download all the episodes from the series and listen at your leisure.

Podcast