Hidden Valley Road
Books | Biography & Autobiography / Medical (incl. Patients)
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK • ONE OF GQ's TOP 50 BOOKS OF LITERARY JOURNALISM IN THE 21st CENTURY • The heartrending story of a midcentury American family with twelve children, six of them diagnosed with schizophrenia, that became science's great hope in the quest to understand the disease. "Reads like a medical detective journey and sheds light on a topic so many of us face: mental illness." —Oprah WinfreyDon and Mimi Galvin seemed to be living the American dream. After World War II, Don's work with the Air Force brought them to Colorado, where their twelve children perfectly spanned the baby boom: the oldest born in 1945, the youngest in 1965. In those years, there was an established script for a family like the Galvins--aspiration, hard work, upward mobility, domestic harmony--and they worked hard to play their parts. But behind the scenes was a different story: psychological breakdown, sudden shocking violence, hidden abuse. By the mid-1970s, six of the ten Galvin boys, one after another, were diagnosed as schizophrenic. How could all this happen to one family?What took place inside the house on Hidden Valley Road was so extraordinary that the Galvins became one of the first families to be studied by the National Institute of Mental Health. Their story offers a shadow history of the science of schizophrenia, from the era of institutionalization, lobotomy, and the schizophrenogenic mother to the search for genetic markers for the disease, always amid profound disagreements about the nature of the illness itself. And unbeknownst to the Galvins, samples of their DNA informed decades of genetic research that continues today, offering paths to treatment, prediction, and even eradication of the disease for future generations.With clarity and compassion, bestselling and award-winning author Robert Kolker uncovers one family's unforgettable legacy of suffering, love, and hope.
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Community ReviewsSee all
"This is incredibly interesting and heart crushingly painful without feeling exploitive to the members of this family who have suffered a great deal. "
"This is the story of the Galvin family, complete with 12 children, and half of them having schizophrenia. This was an intriguing and at some points horrifying read of a family and how they lived and dealt with rampant mental illness in their day to day. I appreciated how the author brought up the various treatments and medical progress that was made while people have been studying mental disorders over the decades."
"truly heartbreaking look at the development of schizophrenia treatment through following one family’s experience while also highlighting how little we actually know about treating various mental illnesses."
"a story of real people who suffered tremendously, and it is heartbreaking to read just about the individuals in this family; it’s also a reminder that there are so many more stories like this, just in smaller families, and each is just as tragic. At the same time, it holds hope because of how some of the surviving members have been able to heal or begin to heal; it offers hope because these same people were able to contribute to science so that others may suffer less. "