A fascinating new story of a woman who changed the world from Kate Moore, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Radium Girls.
1860: As the clash between the states rolls slowly to a boil, Elizabeth Packard, housewife and mother of six, is facing her own battle. The enemy sits across the table and sleeps in the next room. Threatened by Elizabeth's intellect, independence, and outspokenness, her husband of twenty-one years is plotting against her and makes a plan to put her back in her place. One summer morning, he has her committed to an insane asylum.
The horrific conditions inside the Illinois State Hospital in Jacksonville, Illinois, are overseen by Dr. Andrew McFarland, a man who will prove to be even more dangerous to Elizabeth than her traitorous husband. But most disturbing is that Elizabeth is not the only sane woman confined to the institution. There are many rational women on her ward who tell the same story: they've been committed not because they need medical treatment, but to keep them in line—conveniently labeled "crazy" so their voices are ignored.
No one is willing to fight for their freedom, and disenfranchised both by gender and the stigma of their supposed madness, they cannot possibly fight for themselves. But Elizabeth is about to discover that the merit of losing everything is that you then have nothing to lose...Author’s note. Postscript. Selected bibliography. Abbreviations. Notes. Index. Black-and-white photographs and reproductions.
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