So that’s the topic content with a few notations. How, otherwise, to critique this compendium? Obviously, not every reader can be satisfied by even the most encyclopedic work—his favorite expert isn’t included, her special interest wasn’t covered, he has a particular axis to grind. Nonetheless, this is a remarkably fair, balanced, and comprehensive attempt to cover the field. Its shortcomings are the inevitable result of an edited volume: it leaves us with a mosaic of 25 chapters and two editors. There are multiple overviews, some broad and most narrow. The editors might have eliminated some redundancies, but this is a minor issue. The more significant choice they made was between deferring to individual experts in their own special areas versus presenting their own individual, idiosyncratic, and (presumably) less expert views. The former is clearly more even-handed, the latter might have been more fun (and, possibly, more realistic). When my secretary relayed me a message asking if I would review a book by Menninger and Nemiah on the history of American psychiatry over the past 50 years (without mentioning that it was edited), I was thrilled! Who could have the chutzpah to write a grand overview of the last 50 years and speculate on the next 50? Who indeed—if not Roy Menninger and John Nemiah? With whom would you rather sit some evening in front of a fire (even metaphorically), schmoozing about psychiatry and getting their perspective? Terrific, I naively thought. Roy Menninger, of the royal Menninger dynasty, and John Nemiah, editor of this Journal for 15 years, distinguished professor and teacher, urbane handwriter of letters. Who has a better perspective? (Read Nemiah’s brief epilogue to this work and you’ll get the idea.) As I was writing this review, the move of Menningers from Topeka to Texas was announced. Having had the personal dubious distinction of presiding over its Institute when Pennsylvania Hospital decided to sell it to a for-profit group, I can assure you Roy Menninger must have plenty to say. Who better than these two to dispense with separate chapter writers and write it themselves? All of us would benefit from a historical perspective from our Nemiahs and Menningers, those who have "been there" and can make sense out of this maze of bright hopes, broken promises, and contradictions that have befallen us and speculate on where we are headed. Experts are nice but a little gossip and personal intimacy wouldn’t hurt. That’s my only real regret.