Skip to Main Content (Press Enter)

The Book of Phobias and Manias

Best Seller
The Book of Phobias and Manias by Kate Summerscale
Hardcover $20.00
Sep 27, 2022 | ISBN 9780593489758

Buy from Other Retailers:

See All Formats (2) +
  • Sep 27, 2022 | ISBN 9780593489758

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Sep 27, 2022 | ISBN 9780593489765

    Buy from Other Retailers:

Buy the Audiobook Download:

Listen to a sample from The Book of Phobias and Manias

Product Details


“With its remarkable range of disorders and the incredible Scrabble-pleasing array of words (of which hippopotomonstrosesquipediophobia is sure to be a crowd pleaser), The Book of Phobias & Manias offers bizarre histories with wry humor and surprises, but also moments of sober revelation.” Wall Street Journal

“Informative, fascinating, and macabre.”—Psychology Today

“Fascinating . . . Exquisitely detailed and consistently insightful, this is an entertaining guide to humanity’s compulsions.” Publishers Weekly
“99 hard-to-stop-reading histories . . . from the familiar (homophobia) to surprising fears of eggs, hair, silence and everything (pantophobia). Did you know that Oprah is afraid of balloons?” —Chicago Tribune

“Informative, witty, and unique . . . Summerscale, author of The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher and other well-regarded books, lists 99 fears and compulsions, and the result is a peculiarly engaging book.” Kirkus  

“About women and power, about anxiety of the unknown and the fear of looming war, about the choices people make (consciously or unconsciously) in order to escape certain aspects of their lives . . . Summerscale’s writing is so inviting, the historical details folded into the narrative so well, that The Haunting of Alma Fielding reads like a novel you don’t want to put down.” —Ilana Masad, NPR
“Delightful period piece . . . always prescient about the social status of the women she studies, Summerscale notes that Alma was the very model of a colorless, faceless, powerless housewife. But a housewife with psychic powers could escape those social constraints.” —Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
“[A] wonderful book about the world of mediums, it deals, very soberly, with a subject that’s often treated in a very trivial way. If I could have created a non-fiction companion for my novel Beyond Black, that would be the book.” —Hilary Mantel, BBC Radio 4
“With her eye for evocative period detail, her sensitivity to the quirks and poignancies of human motivation, and her brilliant storytelling skills, Summerscale has taken this corker of a case and made it as gripping as a novel. An engaging, unsettling, deeply satisfying read.” —Sarah Waters, author of Tipping the Velvet
“A page-turner with the authority of history.” —Philippa Gregory, author of The Other Queen

Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Get the latest updates about Kate Summerscale
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
By clicking “SIGN UP”, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use and understand that Penguin Random House collects certain categories of personal information for the purposes listed in that policy, discloses, sells, or shares certain personal information and retains personal information in accordance with the policy. You can opt-out of the sale or sharing of personal information anytime.
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top