These essays demonstrate how ‘work’ with its myriad meanings has different significance – treatment, punishment, reform, exploitation, empowerment – within shifting conditions brought about by colonialism, revolution, war, economic change, and new medical ideologies. The collection makes a great temporal and geographical sweep across the entire modern period to the present day, addressing attitudes and praxis in North America, Japan, India, and Western and Eastern Europe.

Waltraud Ernst (ed.), Work, psychiatry and society, c. 1750-2015 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016). ISBN: 978-0-7190-9769-0 (hardback), £75.00. by Louise Hide Given the amount of work that has been produced on labour and economic history on the one hand and asylum history on the other, it is surprising that the two have not been brought together more often. As this excellent volume shows, these sub-disciplines have much to learn from each other because the meanings given to patients’ work and occupation inside institutions have always reflected wider socio-political concerns on the outside. In this volume, Waltraud Ernst has brought together 17 essays with great skill. Together, they demonstrate how ‘work’ with its myriad meanings has different significance – treatment, punishment, reform, exploitation, empowerment – within shifting conditions brought about by colonialism, revolution, war, economic change, and new medical ideologies. The collection makes a great temporal and geographical sweep across the entire modern period to the present day, addressing attitudes

and praxis in North America, Japan, India, and Western and Eastern Europe. The introduction is impressive. Ernst takes her discussion of patient activity back to the Graeco-Roman era before deftly contextualising it within later periods of feudalism and industrialisation, giving due consideration to the influence of socialism, urbanisation, colonialism and migration along the way. Whilst she identifies a number of themes that the volume addresses as a whole, she has organised the essays loosely by geographical region and time period. Generally, this works well. However, the contributions are a little uneven, not only in terms of their word length, but of their content and approach too: some span a century or more offering an overview of changing attitudes, while others make greater use of case studies to draw out more nuanced interpretations. Inevitably, issues around gender, social class and race are drawn out of wider socio-political contexts, as are responses to overarching questions such as how the notion of ‘industriousness’ has…