Here, we have an entire book, something that purports to be a kind of encyclopedia of madness, a Library of Babel for the mind, containing everything that can possibly be wrong with a human being.
No. That is not what it claims to be. It claims to be a scientifically validated way to diagnose mental disorders that are accepted by the medical community.
DSM-5 arranges its various strains of madness solely in terms of the behaviors exhibited.
It is not a textbook. It is a scientifically validated way to diagnose mental disorders. This is done via observations of behavior. It is designed so a clinician can use it to diagnose a condition, consult the appropriate scientific literature about the condition and treatments, and prescribe treatment based on those studies.
Unusually for what purports to be a dictionary of madness
It is not a dictionary of 'madness', whatever that may mean. It is a diagnostic manual.
The scene this prologue sets is one of a profoundly bleak view of human beings; one in which we hobble across an empty field, crippled by blind and mechanical forces whose workings are entirely beyond any understanding.
This is where the review starts to become disturbed. Mental illness is a disability, not a moral judgement. You can treat bipolar disorder and be a happy person just as much as you can treat diabetes or asthma and be a happy person.
The rest of the review is worthless. It just plays on stereotypes and makes jokes at the expense of people suffering from disabilities while ignoring the purpose of the work. I'm sure the author of this piece was trying for humor but didn't realize his bigotry. Would such a dystopian work have ever been contemplated for any other medical disorder, such as skin lesions or cancer? Of course not. Disabilities are not a subject to be gawked at and used for humor.
The author obviously considers the DSM-5 to be worthless and uses these twisted arguments to sink his point home. The 'normality' argument is the core of the thesis. But would the author also use the 'normality' argument for a diagnosis of cancer or arthritis? And in the context of considering a mental illness to be a disability, wouldn't it be counterproductive to make a definition of 'normal'? A diagnostic manual is not supposed to define normal. It is designed to treat illnesses. Again, a mental disorder is not a moral judgement or 'madness', but a disability that is causing impairment. It is offensive to demand a definition of 'normal' in this context since this implies that there is some goal of a perfect human being instead of a goal to treat an impairment or disability.