The Age of Anxiety:
A History of America's Turbulent Affair with Tranquilizers
by Andrea Tone
$26.95 List Price
In 1945, the United States had its first atom-bomb test; in 1949, the Soviets blew up one of their own. These events inspired, most immediately, what the newly Americanized W. H. Auden described as “The Age of Anxiety”—and, more recently, Dr. Atomic, the most boring and worthless John Adams opera imaginable. Did anyone relax at all between Auden and Adams? Yes: on drugs.
Now we Americans, as Andrea Tone writes in her own The Age of Anxiety, are more likely to see a doctor for anxiety than for back pain or migraines. Tone is a professor in the Department of Social Studies of Medicine at McGill University. Her excellent book, as a result, reads like half an excellent book. Don’t you wonder whether academics ever think, “Hey, I’ve done all this awesome reporting and research—maybe I should write so as to
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