Unlocking the Golden Cage: An Intimate Biography of Hilde Bruch, M.D.
This biography of Hilde Bruch is a colorful, personal account of a legendary figure in modern psychiatry.
Although she is best known as a pioneer in the field of eating disorders and is considered a major contributor to the conceptualization of anorexia nervosa, those accomplishments came in her "golden years" after an already prodigious career. Bruch authored more than 250 articles and six books, including The Golden Cage, a bestseller that introduced anorexia nervosa into popular culture. In the 60's, when thinness became a national obsession, she became widely-known and quoted, and she remained the world's foremost authority on eating disorders well into her eighties. Hilde's story begins in a turn-of-the-century German hamlet, where she stood out as an exceptionally intelligent and intuitive child, who watched skeptically as Kaiser Wilhelm's troops grandly marched off to World War I. Later, as a young Jewish physician, she experienced and fled the prejudice of the Third Reich to England and eventually New York, escaping the terrible fate of numerous family members who died in Nazi concentration camps. She spent her own childbearing years as a pediatrician advising mothers while loving their children, through it all remaining ironically outside the biological experience of motherhood. Blessed with a flawless memory, unshakable confidence, and unflagging mental energy, Hilde was ruthlessly organized, mercilessly prepared, and intimidatingly productive. Hilde spent her final twenty years as the 'Grande Dame' of Baylor University Medical School in Houston and traveling the world lecturing about eating disorders and teaching today's experts. Despite the debilitating advances of Parkinson's Disease, Hilde continued writing and speaking until her death in 1984, after which she was eulogized in the Journal of the American Medical Association for her contributions as an author, pediatrician, and psychiatrist.