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Home: Books: Non-Fiction: Biography

Biographies and Autobiographies

Agents in My Brain: How I Survived Manic Depression - Bill Hannon, Library Press (Open Court), May 1, 1997 -- Bill Hannon guides you into a world in which crossword puzzles are coded messages from the CIA and a scrap of masking tape on your car windshield means that your conversations are being monitored. His tale is ultimately a success story after he finds a competent doctor and the right medications.

An Angel at My Table; To the Is-Land; The Envoy from Mirror City - Janet Frame, -- 3 Volume autobiography by a New Zealand writer who spent years in a mental institution.

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness - Kay Redfield Jamison, Random House, 1997 -- In Touched with Fire, Kay Redfield Jamison, a psychiatrist, turned a mirror on the creativity so often associated with mental illness. In this book she turns that mirror on herself. With breathtaking honesty she tells of her own manic depression, the bitter costs of her illness, and its paradoxical benefits: "There is a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness and terror involved in this kind of madness.... It will never end, for madness carves its own reality." This is one of the best scientific autobiographies ever written, a combination of clarity, truth, and insight into human character. "We are all, as Byron put it, differently organized," Jamison writes. "We each move within the restraints of our temperament and live up only partially to its possibilities." Jamison's ability to live fully within her limitations is an inspiration to her fellow mortals, whatever our particular burdens may be. --Mary Ellen Curtin - Paperback

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness - Kay Redfield Jamison, Random House, 1995 -- Kay Redfield Jamison is an international authority on manic-depressive illness, and one of the few women who are full professors of medicine at American Universities - a remarkable personal testimony: the revelation of her own struggle since adolescence with manic depression, and how it shaped her life. With vivid prose and wit, she takes us into the fascinating and dangerous territory of this form of madness - a world in which one pole can be the alluring dark land ruled by what Byron called the "melancholy star of the imagination," and the other a desert of depression and, all too frequently, death. Highly Recommended!

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, (Cassettes) - Kay Redfield Jamison, Random House Audio, 1995 -- This is the revelation of Jamison's own struggle since childhood with manic-depression and how it has shaped her life.

Breaking the Silence - Mariette Hartley, and Ann Commire, New American Library, 1991 -- The daughter of alcoholic parents, popular TV actress Mariette Hartley breaks the silence on such problems as emotional frigidity, an abusive first husband, and her own battle with alcohol, in her autobiography.

Breaking the Silence - Mariette Hartley, and Ann Commire, Publishing Mills -- The daughter of alcoholic parents, popular TV actress Mariette Hartley breaks the silence on such problems as emotional frigidity, an abusive first husband, and her own battle with alcohol, in her autobiography. 2 cassettes.

A Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic Depressive Illness - Patty Duke (Anna Pearce) and Gloria HochmanPublisher: Bantam Books; 1992, -- Patty Duke's very personal account of her struggle with manic-depression. Duke writes every other chapter, while Hochman writes about the more clinical aspects of manic-depression.

A Brotherhood of Tyrants: Manic Depression and Absolute Power - D. Jablow Hershman & Julian Lieb, 1994 -- The authors consider tyranny as the product of bipolar disorder (especially mania) together with ruthlessness, ambition, paranoia, and other charming qualities. The approach is interdisciplinary, combining psychiatry and history. They present biographies of the public and private lives of Napoleon, Hitler, and Stalin.

Call Me Anna; The Autobiography of Patty Duke - Patty Duke (Anna Pearce) (with Kenneth Duran), Bantam Books, 1990 -- Call Me Anna is an American success story that grew out of a bizarre and desperate struggle for survival. A harrowing, ultimately triumphant story told by Patty Duke herself--wife, mother, political activist, President of The Screen Actors Guild, and at last, a happy, fulfilled woman whose miracle is her own life.

Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness - William Styron, Vintage; 1990 -- A personal glimpse at the depression of Pulitzer Prize winning author, William Styron. If you know someone who suffers from depression and want a clue into what the experience is, this is the book. I myself suffer from depression and was always had pressed to explain to another what it was like. Styron does not have difficulty doing it. "Feeling the wind from the wings of madness."

Girl, Interrupted - Susanna Kaysen, Vintage Books, 1994 -- A young woman's story of involuntary hospitalization. Easy to read, and a very important book.

God Head - , Dalkey Archive Press, 1996 -- God Head is an in-the-skin look at madness in a young man's life, a first-person narrative of manic depression and suicidal drives. The narrator is a young college student, driven to desperation by chemical imbalances, who throws himself in front of a subway, then surviving as a paraplegic.

Lost Puritan: A Life of Robert Lowell - Paul Mariani, W.W. Norton & Co., NY, 1994 -- National Book Award nominee Paul Mariani offers a passionate, highly readable biography of one of America's great poets. Using many of Robert Lowell's unpublished letters as well as interviews with his friends and relatives, Mariani captures the greatness, humor, and heartbreak of this literary giant. Fully covers Lowell's manic depressive episodes and how they affected his life. Also gives a window into treatment of manic depression in the 1950s and 60s.

Prozac Nation : Young and Depressed in America : A Memoir - Elizabeth Wurtzel, -- Painful, poignant, and ultimately triumphant, Prozac Nation is Elizabeth Wurtzel's catharsis--a cry of rage at the chronic depression which has dominated most of her young life. "A powerful portrait of one girl's journey through the purgatory of depression."--The New York Times.

The Quiet Room; A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness - Lori Schiller, Amanda Bennett, Warner Books, 1996 -- A first-hand account of schizophrenia, written by Schiller; chapters contributed by members of her family. Schiller has a dual diagnosis with bipolar disorder. To re-create Lori's harrowing story, coauthor Bennett drew on Lori's personal diaries as well as intimate interviews with relatives, friends, and doctors. Highly recommended.

The Quiet Room; A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness (cassette) - Lori Schiller, Amanda Bennett, Warner Books, 1996 -- The electrifying story of a young woman's nightmarish 15-year descent into schizophrenia and her courageous battle to regain her real world. 2 cassettes.

Run, Run, Run: The Lives of Abbie Hoffman - Jack Hoffman and Daniel Simon, Putnam Publication Group, NY, 199 -- Abbie Hoffman's life and struggle with manic depression, written from his brother's viewpoint. Excellent reading about key events of the 1960s and 1970s, and also about manic depression.

Straight from the Heart - Rob and Rod Jackson-Paris, Warner Books, 1995 -- The story of two gay men who, despite the personal odds, have created a successful partnership and have reached out to others in the area of civil rights. Both men have struggled with mood disorders.

True North: A Memoir - Jill Ker Conway, Luann Walther (Editor), Vintage Books, 1995 -- A memoir that includes, in part, her learning to cope with her husband's manic-depressive disorder.

Undercurrents : A Life Beneath the Surface - Martha Manning , Harpercollins, 1996 -- The memoir of an ordinary woman--a mother, a daughter, a psychologist, a wife--who skillfully, uncannily tells the tale of her spiraling descent into a severe, debilitating depression, Manning's is a witty and graceful account that belies the popular understanding of the controversial treatment she sought.

We Heard the Angels of Madness: One Family's Struggle with Manic Depression - Diane and Lisa Berger, Quill, 1992 -- Forwarded by Alexander Vuckovic, M.D. Written by a mother who had a son stricken by manic-depression at 19 and the rough road they walked to get him the help he needed.

Welcome to My Country - Lauren Slater, Random House, 1996 -- The author is a psychologist with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. She has been on both sides of the mental health system.

Welcome to My Country (cassette) - Lauren Slater, Random House Audio, 1996 -- Slater takes the listener on a mesmerizing journey into her work with troubled psychiatric cases. With great humor, humanity, and insight, she makes us feel closer to understanding the foreign and frightening world of the schizophrenic, the depressed, the catatonic, the suicidal. Simultaneous hardcover release from Random House. 2 cassettes.

X Ray - Ray Davies, Penguin USA, 1996 -- This subversively brilliant, one-of-a-kind rock autobiography ingeniously styled as a biography, is written to capture the essence of Ray Davies, lead singer and songwriter of the Kinks and one of the greatest rock and rollers of all time. Part autobiography, part social history, part psychological thriller, this elusive and daring book exposes rock stardom as the heaven, hell and purgatory it is. Davies is openly manic-depressive.

Modified September 28, 2006

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