"Whiplash and Other Useful Illnesses":

I've read most of this very interesting and entertaining book, written by Toronto psychiatrist Andrew Malleson. I'm not sufficiently familiar with the scientific literature to vouch for his conclusions, and there are places in the book where Malleson seems to me to go well beyond his own expertise and reach conclusions that are not directly supported by his evidence. Indeed, I think the book would benefit from being edited down by about a third, with the weaker and more speculative material deleted.

Nevertheless, there are many useful tidbits of information and startling hypotheses in this book, with sufficient citations to the academic literature that the reader could look up the relevant studies for himself if he is skeptical. This is certainly a book that should be on the shelf of, among others, (a) anyone who represents insurance companies in automobile accident injury litigation; (b) anyone interested in "junk science" in general; (c) anyone interested in how the medical profession, or elements thereof, sometimes creates official "illnesses" that are really just clusters of symptoms with no common or known physical cause; (d) anyone interested in the effects of litigation on accident victims, and whether the victimization that are required to exhibit for legal purposes may hinder their emotional and physical recovery; (e) anyone interested in somatic illnesses; (f) anyone interested in malingering and fraud in the workers' compensation and tort systems; and (g) anyone interested in how the legal system encourages, profits from, and sometimes precipitates (c).

Perhaps because the book was written by a Canadian and published by a Canadian press, it hasn't received much attention from American legal scholars since its initial publication in 2003; indeed, it has only been cited once on Westlaw so far. But the book provides abundant material to inform debates on a host of legal issues.