The compelling story of an acclaimed journalist and New York Times bestselling author’s ongoing struggle with epilepsy—how, through personal resilience and the support of loved ones, heovercame medical incompetence and institutional discrimination to achieve once unthinkable success.
“REMARKABLE . . . inspirational in the true sense of the word.”—The New York Times Book Review
This is the story of one man’s battle to pursue his dreams despite an often incapacitating brain disorder. From his early experiences of fear and denial to his exasperating search for treatment, Kurt Eichenwald provides a deeply candid account of his years facing this misunderstood and often stigmatized condition. He details his encounters with the doctors whose negligence could have killed him, but for the heroic actions of a brilliant neurologist and the family and friends who fought for him.
Ultimately, A Mind Unraveled is an inspirational story, one that chronicles how Eichenwald, faced often with his own mortality, transformed trauma into a guide for reaching the future he desired.
Praise for A Mind Unraveled
“An intimate journey . . . bravely illuminating the trials of living inside a body always poised to betray itself.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“Poignant and infuriating . . . merges elements of medical drama, anti-discrimination fable, and coming-of-age memoir.”—The New Yorker
“One of the best thrillers I’ve read in years, yet there are no detectives, no corpses, no guns or knives.”—Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Terrific . . . Eichenwald’s narrative is a suspenseful medical thriller about a condition that makes everyday life a mine field, a fierce indictment of a callous medical establishment, and an against-the-odds recovery saga.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Riveting . . . Eichenwald has created a universal tale of resilience wrapped in a primal scream against the far-too-savage world."—Booklist (starred review)
“An extraordinary book.”—Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., New York Times bestselling author of The Dance of Anger
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.50(d)|
About the Author
Kurt Eichenwald is the New York Times bestselling author of four previous nonfiction books. His second, The Informant, was made into a movie starring Matt Damon and directed by Steven Soderbergh. In addition to his distinguished work as a senior writer at Newsweek and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, Eichenwald spent two decades as a senior writer at The New York Times, where he was a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is also a two-time winner of the George Polk Award, as well as the winner of the Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism and an Emmy Award nominee. He lives in Dallas with his family.
Read an Excerpt
Excerpted from "A Mind Unraveled"
Copyright © 2018 Kurt Eichenwald.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I enjoyed reading this a lot. I usually read several books at a time, but the rest got put on hold because I was so focused on this one, and wanting to see what happened next! Probably the most important message I got from this book is that it's important to stand up for oneself. The author kept making sure he got what he needed even though it was exhausting and it would have been so easy to give up. Also, I have some medical issues myself I can identify with going from doctor to doctor trying to find somebody who knows what he's talking about. Reading about some of the "professionals" the author saw over the years really made me shudder! Thank heaven for the Americans With Disabilities Act, and the whole concept of reasonable accomodations. Nobody will ever have to go through what Kurt Eichenwald went through in college.
I would have read this book at one clip had my Nook not required a charge toward the end. Riveting, infuriating, informative, human, loving, and reflective -- this memoir tells the story of a man who refused to give into institutional stupidity, professional insufficiency, and personal trauma. He decided, twice in his life, to proceed to a specific goal, one academic, one personal. He achieved his goals because of his own strength while undergoing traumas beyond what most of his readers can even imagine, and because others in his life were loving. It's not "just" the story of overcoming obstacles - it's the story of holding one's own despite the overwhelming weight of the world.
"A Mind Unraveled" details the author's battle with epilepsy, focusing primarily on the early years, when he had the misfortune of being treated by incompetent neurologists, one of whom displayed gross negligence that was life-threatening, then found a very competent neurologist that helped set him on a path of partial improvement (the author's epilepsy has proven incredibly difficult to adequately control), only to have staff at the college he attended invent lies about his condition and performance in order to force him to leave. Thankfully, since the early 1980s, when he was first dealing with epilepsy, there has been a lot of improvement, both in terms of treatment options and understanding of the causes of epilepsy and in understanding and acceptance of people with epilepsy by society, especially in employment and academic settings; however, fear, ignorance, and discrimination is still present. I don't give 5 stars reviews often or lightly. However, "A Mind Unraveled" is such an important book because of the messages it contains, that 5 stars are warranted. Personally, I think this book should be required reading for every medical student and everyone pursuing a master's or doctorate in psychology. The arrogance, ignorance, hubris, and neglect displayed by some of the doctors or psychologists who treated the author is maddening. At the same time, the understanding, compassion, education, etc. he received from other doctors, principally Dr. Naarden, who became his primary neurologist for years, is uplifting and encouraging. The author does a great job of portraying the personal side of having epilepsy/having a disability as he discusses his experiences, acknowledges his fears and concerns, including times when he failed to speak up or take appropriate actions due to fear, confusion, lack of knowledge, etc. Through notes and audio recordings he had made over the years, as well as interviews/conversations with family, friends, and doctors about his experiences, what they witnessed, how they felt, etc., the author is able to provide a vivid description of the toll that having a chronic illness can take on an individual and on family and friends, especially when the individual is trying to hide his illness from all but his family and closest friends out of fear of what might happen if people knew about his condition and especially when the individual is being badly mistreated/mismanaged by medical providers and does not know he needs help or could not obtain the proper help, placing an intense emotional and physical burden on those around him who are trying to keep him safe. One of the most consequential things the author did was write a story for New York Times Magazine discussing life with epilepsy. His friend/former college roommate, Carl, contributed a quote that was the most important paragraph of the story -- and is one of the most important statements in this memoir: "If everybody in the world knew how to deal with epilepsy, if everybody in the world were not mystified by a seizure, if everybody in the world were willing to help out when they see a stranger have a seizure, then the lives of people with epilepsy would be infinitely easier. They would be able to go everywhere and do just about everything and not worry." I am very glad I had the opportunity to read a copy of the e-book via NetGalley in exchange for a review. [There is more I would like to say -- and do in reviews elsewhere --but there is a word limit,]