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Ten Days in a Mad-House is a book written by newspaper reporter Nellie Bly in 1887. The book comprised Bly’s reportage for the New York World while on an undercover assignment in which she feigned insanity to investigate reports of brutality and neglect at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island. The book’s graphic depiction of conditions at the asylum caused a sensation, brought Bly lasting fame and prompted a grand jury to launch its own investigation, with Bly assisting. The jury’s report resulted in an $850,000 increase in the budget of the Department of Public Charities and Corrections.

This book was very easy to read. Nellie Bly has a very conversational way of writing, she also does not get bogged down in needless detail. In this book she tells how she got the assignment and how she prepared for it. After she is committed, which was a rather quick and easy process, she details how her first day went. She then states that all her days were like that and proceeds onto the treatment, mis-treatment, abuse, conditions at the asylum. Her belief that there were women there that were not insane substantiated by her reports of their actions and conversations.

After the section on the asylum, there is another short article on the working conditions of women, she refers to it as ‘white slavery’. Also very well written. I recommend this book.

About Belleza

I got the name Bella because my grandfather called me Suzabell. I use that as a username and my friends on the site started calling me Bella. Thus was born: Bella Foxx's Life, now known as "just a city girl" since I have made the big jump from the country and am now living in the City, UES. I like to make jewelry (check out my blog "Bella is creative" started April 17, 2008) and write. I like to do cross stitch and knit. I sew, I don't really enjoy it, but I enjoy the clothes. I like to read the Bible, books, magazines, online newspaper articles, blogs, jokes on candy wrappers, ads on the subway, billboards, backs of food boxes, lists of ingredients and recipes, cleaning directions, sayings on shirts. I post my reviews on "Just a girl, living, reading, watching, and writing", on Shelfari, Library Thing and Goodreads.. I am allergic to practically everything: grass, trees, weeds, animal dander, dust, mold, wheat, apples, nuts, fish and coconut. The fish and coconut are so serious I carry an Epi-pen and wear a Medic-Alert bracelet. And last but not least. I love the Yankees.

One response

  1. Bly is a legend to any woman journalist (which is what I am) who knows her history. What she did was extraordinarily brave and highly unusual for a woman of her time. Thanks for bringing her back to light for 21st century readers!