Robert Whitaker is a journalist and author of five books. His latest, Psychiatry Under the Influence, written with co-author Lisa Cosgrove, was published in April 2015. Much of his writing has focused on psychiatry, the pharmaceutical industry, and medical histories.
Whitaker's first book, Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill was named by Discover magazine as one of the best science books of 2002. His second, The Mapmaker's Wife: A True Tale of Love, Murder and Survival in the Amazon, was named by the American Library Association as one of the best biographies of 2004. In 2008, Crown published On the Laps of Gods: The Red Summer of 1919 and the Struggle for Justice that Remade a Nation, which was awarded the Anthony J. Lukas work-in-progress prize. His book Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America won the Investigative Reporters and Editors book award for best investigative journalism in 2010.
Prior to writing books, Robert Whitaker worked as the science and medical reporter at the Albany Times Union newspaper in New York for a number of years. His journalism articles won several national awards, including a George Polk award for medical writing, and a National Association of Science Writers' award for best magazine article. A series he co-wrote for the Boston Globe was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1998.
During his fellowship year, he worked with Lab Fellow Lisa Cosgrove on an ethnographic approach to understanding the history and ethics of the American Psychiatric Association. This work culminated in the publication of Psychiatry Under the Influence.