Like any good story about a scientific discovery, Walter A. Brown's account of the history of lithium features plenty of improvisation, conjecture and straight-up kismet. Unlike many such stories, though, it also features a fair share of personal bias, senseless puttering and random speculation—on part of these scientific researchers ... Lithium is a homage, not just to a drug, but to the renegade side of science ... Danish researcher Mogens Schou...endured much criticism because he had a personal interest in his investigations: He used lithium to help his younger brother...[and] 'was accused by some of being biased' ... Brown is as determined to puncture such attitudes as he is intrigued by lithium itself. It's this emphasis, itself rather quixotic, that makes Lithium memorable.
This important history of psychiatry shows the complexity of empirical research and quantification, as well as the ways that subjective research reports are received ... Those interested in the history of medicine, psychiatry, and medical research will find this an important and engagingly written book.