No One Cares about Crazy People : The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America
Overview - "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. Read more...
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More About No One Cares about Crazy People by Ron Powers
"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.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
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This resounding rebuke to scornful attitudes toward the mentally ill takes its title from a notably insensitive 2010 email exchange between high-level staffers of Scott Walker during his run for Wisconsin governor. Using that moment as a touchstone of indifference, Powers (Mark Twain: A Life) weaves a dual tale of the personal and the political. In one thread, he traces the history of public efforts to ameliorate (or, more often, hide) the plight of those living with mental illness, from Londons infamous Bedlam in the 18th and 19th centuries, where wealthy visitors were charged admission to gawk at the inmates, to Americas present-day prison-industrial complex. In the other, he tells his own familys heartrending story of grappling with disease: both of his sons have struggled with schizophrenia, and his younger son, Kevin, lost his life to it in 2005. Along with grief, this section of the book is full of joy, serving as a loving tribute to Powerss sons and putting a human face on serious mental illness for anyone lucky enough never to have been forced to confron it. Readers will surely be moved by this double portrait of one familys days of happiness and sorrow, and the worlds halting and flawed attempts to care for troubled people. (Mar.)