Picks and Pans Review: Ward 81

updated 07/02/1979 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/02/1979 01:00AM

photographs by Mary Ellen Mark
text by Karen Folger Jacobs

The images in this photo-documentary of women in the maximum security section of the Oregon State Hospital are uncaptioned but eloquent. Mark and Jacobs spent 36 days in a ward in the same hospital where One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was filmed. Out of that experience has come a compassionate but unwavering portrait of women far beyond mere despair. Their vulnerability, grief and self-destructiveness are, at times, almost too dramatically illustrated, and in her brief introductory text, Jacobs offers vignettes of many of the same wretched lives. It's no book for the squeamish; nor is it one to be ignored. (Fireside/Simon & Schuster, $9.95)

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