No One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America

No One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America

by Ron Powers


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* Finalist for the PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award * Washington Post Notable Book of the Year * People Magazine Best Book of the Year * Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year *

"Extraordinary and courageous . . . No doubt if everyone were to read this book, the world would change."—New York Times Book Review

New York Times
-bestselling author Ron Powers offers a searching, richly researched narrative of the social history of mental illness in America paired with the deeply personal story of his two sons' battles with schizophrenia.

From the centuries of torture of "lunatiks" at Bedlam Asylum to the infamous eugenics era to the follies of the anti-psychiatry movement to the current landscape in which too many families struggle alone to manage afflicted love ones, Powers limns our fears and myths about mental illness and the fractured public policies that have resulted.

Braided with that history is the moving story of Powers's beloved son Kevin—spirited, endearing, and gifted—who triumphed even while suffering from schizophrenia until finally he did not, and the story of his courageous surviving son Dean, who is also schizophrenic.

A blend of history, biography, memoir, and current affairs ending with a consideration of where we might go from here, this is a thought-provoking look at a dreaded illness that has long been misunderstood.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594830634
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 03/21/2017
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 56,793
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Ron Powers is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author. He is the co-author of Flags of our Fathers and True Compass — both #1 New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction bestsellers. His biography of Mark Twain — Mark Twain: A Life — was also a New York Times bestseller. He lives with his wife Honoree Fleming, Ph.D., in Castleton, Vermont.

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

1 Membrane 1

2 What Is Schizophrenia? 21

3 Regulars 39

4 Bedlam, Before and Beyond 56

5 Eugenics: Weeding Out the Mad 79

6 "A More Normal World" 103

7 "When They Were Young" 110

8 Madness and Genius 115

9 "If Only, If Only, If Only …" 128

10 Chaos and Heartbreak 142

11 The Great Unraveler 156

12 Surcease 175

13 Debacle 187

14 "Hey Fam-" 205

15 Antipsychotics 221

16 "Something Unexplainable" 245

17 "We Have Done Pitifully Little About Mental Illnesses" 264

18 "Primoshadino" 284

19 Red Sox 17, Yankees 1 297

20 Insanity and Icarus 299

21 Someone Cares About Crazy People 316

Epilogue 330

Acknowledgments 333

Notes 335

Index 349

About the Author 361

What People are Saying About This

Pamela Rotner Sakamoto

This is the book that Ron Powers, one of America's most elegant chroniclers, vowed he would never write. Too disturbing, too painful, too intimate. We are fortunate that he changed his mind. Powers has tackled his most challenging subject yet with erudition, humanity, and courage. By allowing readers into the sanctity of his home, he makes real the toll of mental illness on those who suffer, their families, and the community. NO ONE CARES ABOUT CRAZY PEOPLE is an unforgettable, insistent call for a nationwide conversation and action, for embracing our most vulnerable benefits us all. -Pamela Rotner Sakamoto, author of Midnight in Broad Daylight: A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds

Author of Taking on the Trust - Steve Weinberg

"Whether Ron Powers is writing about Mark Twain, small-town life in the Midwest, the state of television, or crime, his books resonate. Now he has written the book he never wanted to tackle—about the schizophrenia of his sons and the cruel failures of the American mental health establishment."

U.S. Senator (D-Vt.) - Patrick Leahy

"In telling this gripping and deeply personal story, Ron Powers puts chronic mental illness in the broad context of history, society, and public policy. His compelling account helps shake us out of the embarrassment and apathy that have tethered public discourse and lasting action to treat mental illness. Despite fitful progress, real and lasting progress and empathy are still so easily tripped up by ignorance, fear, and unease. Ron Powers explains why we need to move beyond the stigma that still makes progress difficult, and sometimes impossible. The story he tells is not a comfortable one, but it's an important one."

New York Times bestselling author of Being Nixon - Evan Thomas

"Ron Powers writes eloquently, passionately, and persuasively about the failure to properly treat mental illness in America. What makes this book really powerful is Powers's personal story—the harrowing, wrenching tale of his two sons wrestling with the unholy demon of schizophrenia."

New York Times bestselling author of Brain on Fire Susannah Cahalan

"NO ONE CARES ABOUT CRAZY PEOPLE is a woefully necessary kick in the teeth to society's understanding and treatment of mental illness. Reading Ron Powers is always an event—you can expect expert research and rich reporting in an engrossing style—but what makes this book soar is the passion of Powers' conviction based off his own intimate experiences with schizophrenia. I put this book down days ago and I'm still reeling. It's the rare book that breaks your life into a before and an after."

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