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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.

About the Author

Ron Powers

Ron Powers (born 1941) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, novelist, and non-fiction writer. His face include White Town Drowsing: Journeys to Hannibal, Dangerous Water: A Biography of the Boy Who Became Mark Twain, and Mark Twain: A Life. With James Bradley, he co-wrote the 2000 #1 New York Times Bestseller Flags of Our Fathers. Powers won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1973 for his critical writing as TV-radio-columnist for Chicago Sun-Times about television during 1972. He was the first television critic to win the Pulitzer Prize. In 1985, Powers won an Emmy Award for his work on CBS News Sunday Morning. Powers was born in 1941 in Hannibal, Missouri - Mark Twain's hometown. Hannibal was influential in much of Powers' writing - as the subject of his book White Town Drowsing, as the location of the two true-life murders that are the subject of Tom and Huck Don't Live Here Anymore, and as the home of Mark Twain. Powers has said that his fascination with Twain - the subject of two of his books - began in childhood:"When I was a little boy in Hannibal, he was a mystic figure to me. His pictures and books and images were all over (my friend) Dulany Winkler's house, and I spent a lot of time there. I just wanted to reach out and touch him. Eventually I was able to. "In addition to writing, Powers has taught for the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Salzburg Seminar in Salzburg, Austria, and at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. Powers is married and has two sons. He currently resides in Castleton, Vermont.

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