Born in Dublin in 1942, Anthony Clare was the best-known psychiatrist of his generation. His BBC Radio 4 show, In the Psychiatrist’s Chair, which ran from 1982 to 2001, brought him international fame and changed the nature of broadcast interviews forever. Famous interviewees included Stephen Fry, Anthony Hopkins, Spike Milligan, Maya Angelou and Jimmy Savile, each of whom yielded to Clare’s inimitable gentle yet probing style.
Clare made unique contributions to the demystification and practice of psychiatry, most notably through his classic book Psychiatry in Dissent (1976). This book, the first, official biography of this much-loved figure, examines the man behind these achievements: the debater and the doctor, the writer and the broadcaster, the public figure and the family man. Using extensive public and family records, and new interviews with family, friends and colleagues, the authors ask: Who was Anthony Clare, really? Was there just one Anthony Clare, or many? What drove him? And what is to be learned from his life, his career, and his unique, sometimes controversial legacy to our understanding of the mind? Published on the anniversary of Anthony Clare’s death on 28th October 2007, this is the remarkable story of a remarkable person.
Brendan Kelly is a Professor of Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin, Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry and author of Hearing Voices: The History of Psychiatry in Ireland (IAP, 2019). He has written for press such as the New Yorker, TIME Magazine, the Economist, Newsweek, Observer, Financial Times, Guardian, Irish Times, Irish Independent, Irish Examiner and Sunday Times and has appeared on RTÉ Radio 1, BBC Radio 4, Newstalk and Today FM.
Muiris Houston is a medical writer and health strategist, a specialist in occupational medicine, Adjunct Professor of Narrative Medicine at Trinity College Dublin, and writer-in-residence at Evidence Synthesis Ireland, at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He is a columnist with the Medical Independent and The Irish Times. Muiris is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and the University of Sydney. He is an honorary fellow of the faculty of pathology of the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland.
If you were listening to Radio 4, or watching the BBC in the '80s and the 90's, there's a good chance you would have come across Anthony Clare. A psychiatrist, he was best known for bringing his medical understanding to the public - educating them through programmes such as QED and All in the Mind, and examining well known figures through a psychiatrist's lens, in his radio and television series 'In the Psychiatrist's Chair'
I'm a huge Radio 4 fan, but due to my age rather missed the heyday of Anthony Clare - at the time of 'In the Psychiatrist's Chair' ending I was only 13, so was still rather more into Radio 1 than 4 at that point.
However, many a dull day job as an adult had me discovering the huge amount of old programmes that BBC Radio made available on their website, in conjunction with repeat broadcasts on Radio 4 extra, and my dad's collection of Radio 4 tapes.
Anthony Clare's gentle unpicking of well known figures was quite the revelation when I first listened to it - and I was rather struck by, compared to more modern interviewers, how little he speaks - his skill as a Psychiatrist allowing his guests to open up about their backgrounds and lives, with only occasional prods and queries from Clare.
Now, despite Clare's considerable renown in the later part of the 20th Century, not much has been written about the man himself - until now.
Professor of Psychiatry Brendan Kelly and Medical writer Muiris Houston, have come together to write this indepth look into the life of Clare - and it's a read that turns out to be as entertaining as it is a tribute to a brilliant mind.
Many of us go to know the 'public' Anthony Clare, but this book truly goes behind the curtain to explore the life of the private Anthony Clare, and, in what is rather a rare case for a biography of a public figure, finds a kind, loving, joyous man who loved his family first and foremost and his work second. Colleauges, friends and family speak lovingly of an extremely talented man who died far too soon - and the excellent writing and research of Kelly and Houston serves as a tribute to a brilliant man who brought his psychiatry skills to the people in order to help as many as possible.
I recieved a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review - many thanks to the publishers and to Bei Guo at Midas PR.