At the time that Talbott published this book he was already known as a shrewd critic of mental health policy. He was involved with Carter's Presidential Commission and arranged a conference dealing with persons with chronic mental disorders that both influenced the Commission's final report and led to a published volume. The Death of the Asylum was a book that chronicled the failures of state hospitals as well as the policy of deinstitutionalization. Yet in calling attention to these failures, Talbott emphasized the central importance of individuals with serious and persistent mental disorders. By the time this book appeared, this group no longer occupied the center of mental health policy. The emphasis on individuals with psychological and addiction problems had created an entirely new clientele that competed for resources, to the detriment of those with chronic disorders. Yet the needs of the latter, as Talbott emphasized, were far greater: "They are people who have impaired social functioning, psychological disability, and residual symptoms. They often have no home, no family, and no friends to whom to return. There is all too often no viable ecological system or social structure awaiting their return. All the above makes it imperative that we use a model of chronic illness in thinking about this population, and that the goal after resolution of the acute episode must be care not cure and habilitation before rehabilitation."