The year is 1796. The French Revolution has drawn to its bloody conclusion and now war is rampaging across Europe as Britain faces up to the aggression of the republican masses led by the young general, Napoleon Bonaparte. Against this dramatic backdrop a strange scene unfolds in the Houses of Parliament. Lord Liverpool, the Home Secretary, is addressing the House, calling for increased action against the upstart French. A man shakily rises to his feet in the public gallery. Looking faint and worried he pauses for breath before bellowing a single word: "Treason!" The man is James Tilly Matthews.;Across the city in a dank cellar another extraordinary scene unfolds. A gang of anarchists are at work with their diabolical machine, the Air Loom. The machine works by animal magnetism, sending invisible rays to control the minds of its victims, forcing thoughts into their heads and tormenting them with unbearable agonies if they attempt to resist. The gang has control of the minds of politicians and generals and is determined to plunge England further into the war with France. The only man who knows of this fiendish plot and believes he can stop it is the same James Tilly Matthews.;"The Air Loom Gang" recounts the remarkable true story of Matthews: a peace activist caught up in the war between England and France who becomes convinced of an elaborate conspiracy aimed at the very heart of power. It tells of his arrest after his outburst in Parliament; his incarceration in England's most notorious madhouse, the Bethlam Royal Hospital, "Bedlam", and his fateful meeting with the surgeon, Dr John Haslam. Haslam becomes obsessed with Matthews and his precise paranoid fantasy. The contest between the two men runs for 20 years and becomes the defining test case for the new science of psychiatry.
The Air Loom Gang The Strange and True Story of James Tilly Matthews and His Visionary Madness
Hardback (02 Jun 2003)
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Includes delivery to USA
Out of stock