Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Review of "Ten Days in a Mad-House," by Nellie Bly

 Review of

Ten Days in a Mad-House, by Nellie Bly ISBN 9781519649263

Five out of five stars

Act of a tough female investigative reporter

Elizabeth Jane Cochrane took the pen name Nellie Bly when she took a job with a newspaper. At first she was assigned only stories that dealt with women’s issues, but she pressed forward and was a pioneer in the creation of the field of investigative journalism. In order to learn how women deemed mentally ill were being treated, she feigned madness so that she could spend ten days in an asylum. This book is her report of her experiences.

 Sadistic nurses, indifferent physicians, cold baths, horrible food and inadequate clothing were her main reports. Bly found some of her fellow patients to be friendly, and when her story appeared in the “New York World” it was one of the first and most influential columns. As a consequence, more money was allocated for the asylum and there was more oversight that led to better treatment.

 It took a true act of courage for Bly to enter such a facility. Before she went in there were reports that the patients were dangerous and the conditions horrid. No one inside knew her true identity, so she was treated like all the others.

 A pioneer in her profession and for her gender, Nellie Bly will forever be remembered as a quality journalist.

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