Ten Days in a Mad-House by Nellie BlyIf you read this book without knowing anything of Nellie Bly except that she was a journalist, you might think it was a wonderful expose of the absolute horrors of bedlam in New York.
You might doubt whether really the food was so bad that apart from a crust or two and a bowl of cold tea, it was totally inedible - the bread had spiders baked into it. You might wonder if the nurses were all nasty, brutish and extremely violent. Question if the doctors were either having public affairs with their illiterate nursing assistants or just plain blind to the extreme violence, starvation and freezing conditions all around. You might even come to the conclusion, as I did that even if half (or perhaps a quarter) of all this was true then it was outrageous and perhaps fantastical. But it was a good bit of reporting, because she was taken seriously and conditions did change for the better, or were said to, which is the same thing in a book.
However, if you knew that Nellie Bly (the pseudonym of Elizabeth Cochran) was an investigative journalist with all that implies in the modern era, and had also written, Nellie Bly as a White Slave and Trying to be a Servant you might think she was a bit of a sensationalist reporter whod do anything for a laff and a buck and you wouldnt be far wrong. (These two pieces are available at the link above here Also some strange advertisements).
It was then my opinion of the book sunk down to a 3 star. Just a journalist assignment, pays the bills, keeps her in the public eye as a late 19thC celebrity. Just as she went off on a less-than-eighty-days jaunt around the world for a newspaper.
But then, it all changed when I read that these sensationalist titles were to gain the popular eye - Nellie Bly was a fierce feminist and exposer of the terrible attitudes and sometimes treatment women faced from the completely male-driven society of her time. Nellie Blys schtick extended to exposing prison conditions (which she also got improved somewhat), corruption in the State Legislature (you think anyone could affect political corruption more than temporarily?) So sensationalism was a means to an end. How could I give less than 5 stars to a woman who stood together with Emma Goldman and Susan B. Anthony. She should be better known now and an icon of her times and profession.
The book is free here.
Ten Days in a Madhouse Full Audiobook by Nellie BLY by Non-fiction
Ten Days in a Mad-House
A woman in restraints and a bloodied hospital gown writhes in pain on a medical table. Cue the scary music as Dr. Dent a raspy-voiced Christopher Lambert , the superintendent of the facility, enters the dark room to observe. Within minutes of the treatment, the patient convulses and dies. Dent orders the attending physician to stop revival attempts. Undeterred by missing this key part of the plan, she smiles oddly throughout their exchange, to the point of distraction. The asylum also serves as a dumping ground for women who were deemed unsalvageable or unwanted by their husbands, families or society, and Bly finds some of the patients are just as sane as she is.
She was a writer, journalist, inventor, industrialist, and charity worker. One of her more famous undertakings was a record-setting day trip around the world, based on the Jules Verne character Phileas Fogg from Around the World in Eighty Days. Eventually, the police were called. She was then examined by several doctors, all of whom pronounced her insane. She was eventually released, thanks to an attorney from the New York World , the paper that had sent her there in the first place. Ten days, as it turned out, was plenty for Bly to write a scathing expose about conditions in the asylum and the treatment of its inmates. Yet, she found that this exacerbated, rather than helped, her position.
Readers will discover the meaning behind the title and so much more in this thrilling new adventure that we've been waiting for. You won't see it here yet check back in a couple weeks for more but for the first time many of the vintage photos in this volume will be in color.
advance happy new year 2019 wishes