La guerra dei matti. Una ricerca su un manicomio di provincia - Beyond the sum of the deaths and of the economic damages caused by war, war accounting has always shown little regard to the mental health traumas caused by these events. And yet many research studies, based both on the major nineteen century conflicts and on the more recent ones, show that psychic traumas provoked by war can persist with their victims often for many decades. My specific research took into consideration the patients of the Neuropsychiatric Hospital of Racconigi, between 1938 and 1947. This mental hospital hosted psychiatric patients from the Cuneo Province during this specific period. More than 2,500 cases have been taken into consideration of which hundreds were soldiers and civilians committed to this hospital after taking part directly in war actions or as victims of war actions, namely soldiers coming back from the Russian military campaign and civilian survivors of the Boves’ slaughter. This research has been possible thanks to the noteworthy helpfulness of the sanitary institution that maintains the medical records of this hospital, including individual case files containing medical documents, public acts and private letters. These historical sources, scarcely used in research, have allowed me to look into the human and cultural atmosphere of the time and to analyze the complexity of the power relations among patients, their relatives, public authorities and medical doctors.
Key words: War, mental traumas, psychiatric hospital, medical records, soldiers, civilians.
Parole chiave: Guerra, traumi mentali, ospedale psichiatrico, cartelle cliniche, soldati, civili.