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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee

By Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall
ISBN: 978-1-60911-858-7
Publisher: Eloquent Books
Price: $17.95 US

Originally reviewed  by Emily Jane Hills Orford for All Books Review
Do you feel safe in your house at night? Have you ever wondered about those annoying, middle-of-the-night phone calls that you thought were just a random wrong number? Have you noticed someone following you? Frightening? Yes! Imagine having this happen relentlessly for years: phone calls at all hours of the day and night; people following you; people pretending to be your friend, your client, your patient; people breaking into your house; people threatening your life; people ending the lives of people you have come to know through your practice and your volunteer activities. These things are frightening enough without the added phone taps and tampering with the television cable so that the programming is altered to implement a direct personal assault on an individual’s mental health. This and more happened to an American psychiatrist, Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall. Not only did these threats affect her safety and that of her daughter, they also affected her psychiatric practice and had her committed to the psychiatric ward, induced with countless drugs and labelled as being psychotically paranoid and manic depressive. Why? It all started when she tried to help transform an abandoned school in Seattle into an African American Museum.

Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall is a captivating storyteller. Her memoir, The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee, chronicles thirty years of her life as she tried to maintain her psychiatric practice in Seattle, Washington, while raising a daughter and being actively involved in several volunteer groups that rigorously sought to improve the lives of ordinary Americans. Her fight to bring research on safe AIDS treatment to the fore in the 1970s struck a raw-nerve in certain government departments. Her fight to defend African Americans abused by the system, abused by the police, resulted in greater harassment. She also lobbied for basic health care insurance for all Americans; helped establish and support, both financially and physically, the African American Museum; and she was frequently sought to financially back those who were wrongly accused in the Seattle justice system. Her views on American politics may have seemed radical to many; but hearing her story, from her point-of-view, one begins to wonder if there isn’t a conspiracy out there to block the so-called ‘freedom of speech’ right and condemn those who dare to question it.

Dr. Bramhall continued her practice in Seattle, despite the continual harassment and death threats, for thirty years. She had no desire to uproot her daughter during her early school years. After her daughter moved away to university, Dr. Bramhall made her decision to immigrate. She accepted a posting in New Zealand, and made the move. She is currently practicing child and adolescent psychiatry in New Plymouth.

The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee is an almost shocking memoir about what lies beneath the world as we want to see it. The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee is highly recommended by Allbooks reviewer, Emily-Jane Hills Orford, Allbooks Reviews.
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