R. Gregory Lande is a physician specializing in adult and forensic psychiatry. After completing medical school, he joined the US Army where he served for 20 years. During his military tenure, Dr. Lande started the military’s forensic psychiatry training program. Visit Dr. Lande at his website.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a physician specializing in adult and forensic psychiatry. I retired from the US Army Medical Corps as colonel. Following that, I held various clinical and administrative positions. I continue to be actively engaged in the clinical, academic, and research activities of my profession.
What made you decide to become a writer?
The transition for many physicians seems natural enough. We spend considerable portions of our professional lives documenting our patients' stories. A smaller group of physicians, mostly those interested in academic medicine, expand their authorship by writing in medical journals. Even smaller groups, among which I count myself, transfer their interests in writing to non-medical topics.
Can you tell us about your latest book?
The Abraham Man is a purposely evocative title. I suspect that many people, solely based on that title, would be curious about the book’s contents. I further suspect that most readers would never equate the title with malingering [pretending to be ill]. Yet in fact, The Abraham Man is all about medical malingering. The premise of this book is that malingering propelled the growth and development of modern day neurology and psychiatry.
So how did that come about?
In 19th-century America, shortly after the civil war, lawyers increasingly sought the services of physicians in all manner of criminal and civil cases. This was fertile ground for malingering, be it to escape criminal punishment or receive a large monetary award. "The Abraham Man" was a derisive term commonly used for hundreds of years to label malingerers. The term was lost in common parlance maybe a hundred years ago but resurrected in the title The Abraham Man. The Abraham Man carefully lays the foundation upon which the premise is built through fascinating civil and criminal cases of the era which prominently showcased malingering.