"Headache Through the Ages" - Review

by Teri Robert, MyMigraineConnection Lead Expert

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Review – “Headache Through the Ages”

by Seymour Diamond, MD, and Mary A. Franklin

Ranking 4.5 stars out of 5


There are many books available that talk about the medical aspects of headaches and Migraine disease. Diamond and Franklin have taken a different and quite interesting approach. In Headache Through the Ages, they explore how "headache" has been perceived through time in literature, art history, and anecdotal material, "noting the famous headache suffers and how they depicted their pain."

Why "Headache Through the Ages" Interests Readers

It's said that misery loves company. That seems to be true in that many who live with headaches and Migraine disease find it interesting to see what society's attitudes were toward them through history, what the treatments were, and what famous people have been afflicted. When someone famous shares our illness or disease, it validates us in a way. That's the appeal of this type of book. Headache Through the Ages is also a beautiful book. With a beautifully understated cover, its print is a quite readable size, and it's carefully illustrated with photos, drawings, and color plates.

Some Wonderful Quotes from "Headache Through the Ages"

  • "You have spent your life in trying to discover the north pole, which nobody on earth cares tuppence about, and you have never attempted to discover a cure for the headache, which every living person is crying aloud for." ~George Bernard Shaw to the arctic explorer Friedjof Nansen.
  • "We can describe the thoughts of Hamlet, but we cannot describe a Migraine." ~Virginia Woolf
  • The mild attacks of Migraine from which I still suffer usually announce themselves hours in advance by forgetting names, and at the height of these attacks, it frequently happens that all proper names go out the window..." ~Sigmund Freud
  • At first every small apprehension is magnified. Every anxiety a pounding terror. Then the pain comes and I concentrate only on that... The Migraine has acted as a circuit breaker, and the fuses have emerged intact." ~Joan Didion
  • "That night the headaches returned. One each night. Then two, three, four. I climbed the walls. One hour of excruciating agony, then some fitful sleep, only to wake up screaming with pain." ~Frank Capra


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