Joanne Hatch Bruch is married to Herbert Bruch, Hilde’s nephew, whose guardianship she assumed after his parents and sister were killed in the holocaust. When Hilde died in 1984, Joanne sorted through the voluminous keepsakes of a sentimental "pack rat," whose roots were locked in dog-eared and yellowing documents from an earlier lifetime, and discovered a fascinating story. Joanne has taught high school, is a mother and grandmother, and lives with Herbert in Devon, PA.

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Hardcover, 352 pg, '96
Product Code: HIL
ISBN: 978-0-936077-16-1
MSRP: $29.95

Unlocking the Golden Cage

An Intimate Biography of Hilde Bruch, MD

Author: Joanne Hatch Bruch


This biography of Hilde Bruch is a colorful, personal account of a legendary figure in modern psychiatry. Although she is best known as a pioneer in the field of eating disorders and is considered a major contributor to the conceptualization of anorexia nervosa, those accomplishments came in her "golden years" after an already prodigious career. Bruch authored more than 250 articles and six books, including The Golden Cage, a bestseller that introduced anorexia nervosa into popular culture. In the 1960s, when thinness was a national obsession, she became widely known and quoted—remaining the worlds foremost authority on eating disorders well into her eighties. Despite her professional achievements, her personal life was often unhappy. She struggled with depression, ill-fated loves, and family secrets.

This book is a beautifully written biography of an incredible woman.


"Everyone interested in eating disorders will be enriched by learning more about one of its pioneering spirits."
Joel Yager, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Eating Disorders Review

 "This sensitive, powerful biography illuminates the distinguished career, clinical genius, and fascinating personal struggles of the woman who unlocked the field of eating disorders for today's experts. It is riveting reading for anyone interested in the topic of eating disorders, as well as for scholars of outstanding modern thinkers."
David Garner, PhD, co-author of Handbook of Treatment for Eating Disorders

"This is an opportunity for admirers of Dr. Bruch's work to meet Hilde the daughter, sister, outspoken student, colleague, friend, and lover. Tracing her early intellectual and academic interests in the face of war-torn Germany, it also offers an enlightening glimpse of trends in European and American psychiatry from the 40s through the 70s. Most importantly, it gives us a sense of the woman behind the professional."
— Craig Johnson, Chief Clinical Officer of Eating Recovery Center, Denver, CO

"What a life! From fleeing Nazi Germany ito triumph in New York, from a youthful suicide attempt, to becoming a "Grande Dame" in Texas with a Rolls Royce, this book presents a compelling picture of Hilde Bruch's strengths and struggles. It is indeed an intimate portrait that shows us the compassion and wisdom that resulted in her groundbreaking work on obesity and anorexia nervosa."
— Russell Marx, Clinical Director of the Eating Disorders Program at the Medical Center at Princeton, NJ

"A fascinating, richly contexted, and admirably forthright account of this pioneer of eating disorders. Bruch emerges as a woman of strong intellect, highly passioned, and strongly committed to work and to life. This is an interesting, stunning portrait of one of psychiatry's greatest women pioneers."
— Kathryn Zerbe, Professor of Psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University