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Ear Soon to be a major motion picture, from Brad Pitt and Tony Kushner A Washington Post Best Book of A mid-century doctor's raw, unvarnished account of his own descent into madness, and his daughter's attempt to piece his life back together and make sense of her own. Early in his career, ahead of his time, he grew fascinated with identifying the biochemical root of manic depression, just as he began to suffer from it himself.
By the time the results of his groundbreaking experiments were published, Dr. Baird had been institutionalized multiple times, his medical license revoked, and his wife and daughters estranged. He later received a lobotomy and died from a consequent seizure, his research incomplete, his achievements unrecognized.
Mimi Baird grew up never fully knowing this story, as her family went silent about the father who had been absent for most of her childhood. Decades later, a string of extraordinary coincidences led to the recovery of a manuscript which Dr. Baird had worked on throughout his brutal institutionalization, confinement, and escape. This remarkable document, reflecting periods of both manic exhilaration and clear-headed health, presents a startling portrait of a man who was a uniquely astute observer of his own condition, struggling with a disease for which there was no cure, racing against time to unlock the key to treatment before his illness became impossible to manage.
In time her fingers became stained with the lead of the pencil he had used to write his manuscript, as she devoted herself to understanding who he was, why he disappeared, and what legacy she had inherited. The result of his extraordinary record and her journey to bring his name to light is He Wanted the Moon , an unforgettable testament to the reaches of the mind and the redeeming power of a determined heart. Get A Copy.
Hardcover , pages. Published March 16th by Crown Business first published February 17th More Details Other Editions 6. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about He Wanted the Moon , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. A daughters quest to understand the father that literally disappeared from her life. In , Doctor Percy Baird was confined to a mental institution after a sever episode of mania.
Mimi was only six when he was no longer in the home and was only told by her mother, that he was away. The first part of the book are all in her Father's writing, he penned down his experiences with his illness and his treatment at the institutions to which he was committed. What was amazing to me was how much he rem A daughters quest to understand the father that literally disappeared from her life.
What was amazing to me was how much he remembered, even while in his manic states. His brilliant mind was constantly at work. The second half of the book was how his disappearance effected her life. Of what her and her sister and mothers life was without him. How she decided to find out more about him and the actions she took. The situation itself was heartbreaking but the book was not written emotionally. It was very clear and concise.
This was in and the treatment at these institutions were many times barbaric. Even if they didn't have the treatments available that we do now, it still seems to me that common sense would prevail and the realization that ice cold baths would not accomplish much medically. Although treatments help many today, the brain is still the area that is difficult to understand. The stigma about mental illness itself still prevails though there is small progress in that area. Though their are many new treatments it is still a hit and miss approach and many are still without treatment or at least effective treatment.
A very good book for those looking for a better understanding of the bi-polar, as reading Baird's own words about a brilliant man with a brilliant mind in the midst of mania are informative. Only by sharing these experiences by those effected, as Mimi does, will the stigma of mental illness be removed. ARC from librarything. View all 7 comments.
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Mar 24, Cathy rated it really liked it. A Harvard educated dermatologist Dr. Perry Biard, develops bipolar disorder, is institutionalized resulting in the loss of his family, friends and practice. It is and his disappearance is never explained to his six year old daughter, Mimi.
For years denial and silence were maintained until a chance discussion with a doctor leads to information and opens the extraordinary journey Mimi takes to uncover what she can about her father. He Wanted the Moon is written in two parts. The first from a A Harvard educated dermatologist Dr. The first from a long lost manuscript Dr. Biard wrote about his hospitalization, annotated with parts of his medical record. You can watch the progression of his illness as the manuscript changes from from understandable to chaotic and back again.
It took another 20 years for her to complete her search and publish the book. For me the most striking aspects of the book are that although treatment of people with major mental illness has come a long way there is still a long way to go and that the stigma of mental illness Dr. Biard experienced is still prevalent today View 2 comments. It was a remarkable decision!
This is a text that left me thinking about the content beyond the text and as I write this, I am thinking about ways regarding the approaches I take to engage in further research about what Dr. Perry Baird was working on with his research on manic depression now known as bipolar disorder and in general, learning more about the condition at hand. Mimi Baird writes about her father, Dr. Perry Baird, who was a dermatologist that was a gifted, brilliant student that became inclined to do research on the condition that was bringing him down in manic depression.
Unfortunately, his condition led to multiple visits to institutions that would cause he great decline, losing his family his wife, Gretta, and his daughters, Mimi and Catherine , his license to practice, his professional connections, his ability to research, and so much more. The way that this book was structured was spot on, for I really like Mimi's decision to begin with her father's very own account of being institutionalized and the events that took place from his instatement on February 20, and the months that succeeded this particular entry.
Baird discusses the cruel treatment of being tied up in a straightjacket or in packs on random instances, his interaction with others that were also institutionalized, and gives us a firsthand account of what it is like to be in his shoes.
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Some of the things he said and did may sound like they are hard to believe, but he was straightforward and said things exactly as he felt, portraying the actions of both himself and those working in the institution with brutal honesty. In the second part of the book, Mimi tells her story about what life was like without her father, her struggles between that and how her mother and stepfather developed an emotionally cold atmosphere for her and her sister though Mimi was affected much greater , and the way things happened from her perspective.
Years after her father's death and after marrying and having children, Mimi always wanted to learn more and was able to get in touch with relatives, doctors, and other sources in finding out so much of what she needed to know about her dad. Perry Baird's greatest feat was his pioneering research that he did on manic depression, where he was trying to find solutions to his condition. Unfortunately, in America, the solution to treat manic depression was through lobotomies, developed by Portuguese neurologist Egas Moniz, which was the treatment used on Dr.
While it eased emotional issues, it had greater side effects and Dr. Baird was never the same, having died from a seizure that was a result. I could not think of any rating to give this book besides a perfect five stars. This is something I feel that everybody needs to read and something that everybody needs to know about, for it will develop a greater understanding for bipolar disorder and those that are affected by it. I could not think of a more perfect arrangement than the one put together here with how we learn about Dr.
Baird through his accounts and then through Mimi's research and I really liked how we got Dr. Baird's account first, for it really fit in a chronological sense. There are moments in this book that are dark and show some of the things Dr. Baird did that would be deemed as immoral, but the things that Dr. Baird had to endure throughout his life and in the institution were certainly immoral as well. One has to look at Dr.
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Baird's determination in everything he wanted to get accomplished and how all he really wanted was a greater opportunity to be understood. It is hard to imagine how it has only been within the last fifty some odd years where we began to develop a greater understanding for those with disabilities, especially mental and learning disabilities. In many cases, these people were locked away from society and instead of being treated properly, they were tortured perpetually. This torture was not limited to direct tactics ranging from electric shock to restraints, but one that was interior, where others wanted nothing to do with those with disabilities or saw them as complete incapables.
He Wanted the Moon reminds us that there is so much more we need to learn about any given individual before we can determine what their legacy shall be. While one could write Dr. Baird off as a madman, I see him as an important attribute to global medicine and a champion in going forward with the development of understanding bipolar disorder to a greater degree. While he never got to complete his research, his efforts are priceless. A film adaptation is being made for this book where Tony Kushner is writing the script, while Brad Pitt is being slated to star in the leading role.
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This will definitely be something that brings me back to the movie theater if this takes place. As for the book, I feel this is the book I wish more people were discussing and exploring. So many people I brought this up with were convinced to read it and to those people and everyone else, by all means pick it up and read it!
Sep 03, Kara rated it it was amazing Shelves: librarything , , arc-copies. Note: In composing this review, I have assumed the reader to have read the summary provided on the page on which this is posted, or, regardless of what information this page does or doesn't provide, or to have found out this book's general topic. Perry Baird, and His Daughter's Quest to Know Him , and I was fortunate enough to win an advance edition publication expected in February through the LibraryThing Early Note: In composing this review, I have assumed the reader to have read the summary provided on the page on which this is posted, or, regardless of what information this page does or doesn't provide, or to have found out this book's general topic.
Having finished the work, I have to say that author Mimi Baird met and then exceeded my high hopes; my five-star rating at the top of this review understates the value of this reading experience in my view. In fact, I think Baird has created a vitally important work that should be among the books everyone should hope and try to read at some point in life. I found ideas presented and questions raised in this text that would make it especially valuable reading for any professional engaged in critical services to diverse populations -- doctors, lawyers and teachers come first to my mind.
In sum, this book imparts rare wisdom the ignorance of which tangibly impoverishes our society and limits the quality of human life. Given my wholehearted belief in the value of this read, I was somewhat surprised when to find Kirkus presenting a very different perspective in the recently published review of this book. The highlighted excerpt chosen to showcase the review's conclusions evidenced a much more circumscribed view of the value to be found in these pages:"For Mimi Baird, the book serves as closure; for general readers, it's a sobering account of how little we knew and how much we still have to learn about mental illness—especially how not to treat it.
The text consists in large part of her father's own writings; his story is not just uncovered as a set of events that document the behavior that typified the illness for which he was hospitalized, the medical "treatments" he received, and details of the staggering professional and social losses he experienced after hospitalization. As it turns out, Dr. Baird was not only an outstanding practitioner of medicine with peerless academic qualifications for his profession, he was a gifted writer who possessed rich insight into his experiences as a mental patient.
His papers provide straightforward, clear and rational descriptions of manifold elements of his life during his hospitalization.
I found that Baird never dramatized the hardships he experienced, but he did not soften dismal conclusions about the terrible circumstances that arose directly from his mental illness diagnosis and the medical establishment's conception of what that illness entailed. Despite the rational presentation of Dr. Baird's observations to which the reader is privy, his attempts to relate details of his psychological experience in order to improve knowledge of the disease and find a path to better treatment were unsuccessful.
In speaking of his own experience, this brilliant man was not credited by either his treating doctors or his friends and former colleagues in the medical profession. Catherine Mackinnon once wisely observed that power inheres in the ability to speak your truth and have it taken seriously by the wider community unfortunately, I do not have the direct quotation available right now. There is an increasing amount of scholarship on the persistent powerlessness and substantial life limitations experienced by the mentally ill.
This first-person narrative of sanism at work can do more to raise awareness about the warped perspective on mental illness that exists today and throughout Western history than any academic theory or historical review. However, I think a broader truth is to be found here, and this is what provides the basis for my belief in the great impact this book could have if read widely. Specifically, it seems everywhere I look people who can be found near either end of various spectrums of given human qualities and experiences, are routinely misunderstood and their truth is silenced.
It's not always a minority that meets with this effect; I think the persistence of sexism for example is rooted in a similar social process, at least in part. This story of a great genius ignored by everyone has much to teach about the grievous harm that can be done when we fail to pay close attention to human differences -- whether in personal relationships, classrooms, courtrooms, or mental hospitals.
This is just one key reason why I heartily encourage others to read this book. The fact is it's a quick read that is packed with stories and insights that are rarely available, let alone in such a convenient way. Thanks for reading my thoughts; I hope they are helpful to you in some respect. Mar 07, W. Whalin rated it it was amazing.
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This compelling read has two clear parts. The first portion uses first person diary entries from a successful dermatologist Dr. Perry Baird who suffers from manic depression. The disease ends his medical career. The second portion tells the inside story of a daughter's search the author Mimi Baird to know and understand her father. I found both the first part and the second portion a page-turner experience. The title for this fascinating book comes from a neighbor who described Dr.
Perry Baird This compelling read has two clear parts. Perry Baird to his daughter saying, "Your father, he couldn't help himself. You know, Mimi, he wanted the moon. I highly recommend this book. I found the book to be educational --in an entertaining way-- and at times simply horrifying.
Now I rather imagine that you, like me, have run across some textbook entries or articles about the Manic-Depressive state. I don't know about you but I feel that Depression is the easier part of that equation to understand. Depression-alone is a common enough ailment.
Manic though is not common. Yet, I thought I had a handle on it. I have to tell you that in all my reading the authors never truly conveyed to me the imminent danger that the patient was in, nor how a person's reasoning was effected. Baird's writings were like was a sound slap up-side the head.
Mimi Baird then gives us her father's writings, each section introduced with a brief entry that puts the records into context. Through this story telling I feel we readers are given a unique view into the Manic-Depressive state, as well as an idea of how the disease was treated and socially handled in the past. Much of the writing demonstrates how the disease colored Dr. Baird's sense of reality.
He talked at one point, for example, about how honest he was. Just after he wrote about how he had lied. In other places he writes about how he was treated by family and friends, doctors and staff. And some of this was pretty horrific. I will never understand how anyone could think that waterboarding a patient would be helpful. Nor how being tied in a straight-jacket could be a cure.
It just amazes me at how primitive, and dare I say, sadistic, physicians could be. Being retained in a room, yes. Being straight jacketed and then wrapped in sheets dipped in cold water is just evil. In reading this book I tried to imagine who might like it best. This is not your usual sort of read but something very special. And I very much appreciate and thank Mimi for sharing how her father 's life was destroyed by this disease, and how it ultimately effected her life. This is a remarkable set of records that I think might appeal to those with an interest in disease and medicine, and those with an interest in history and unusual biographies.
Feb 15, Barb rated it really liked it Shelves: read-in , vine , mental-health , non-fiction , memoirs. This book is a love story and tribute to the author's father and a heartbreaking first hand account of his experiences as a patient in a mental hospital. The author has combined her father's writings, his medical records and her personal memories to create a loving tribute to a brilliant but mentally ill man.
Anyone with an interest in mental health will find this a worthy read. Perry Baird's descriptions of his physical and emotional isolation from friends and family who might have offered some This book is a love story and tribute to the author's father and a heartbreaking first hand account of his experiences as a patient in a mental hospital. Perry Baird's descriptions of his physical and emotional isolation from friends and family who might have offered some support and the cruel and barbaric treatment he received from so-called medical professionals at the time make this a difficult story to read.
Some of Perry's descriptions about himself reminded me of James Fallon's descriptions of his inner thoughts and perceptions of his own truthfulness in his book 'The Psychopath Inside'. Baird's account of events and the contrasting accounts from medical personnel offer very distinct experiences of the same reality. He also describes his understanding of the way his mental illness was impacting his relationships with people he had once been close to.
He writes 'The accumulated superstitions of our civilization in regard to insanity are very much still with us all and they can breed a devastating effect upon friendships I'm happy Mimi Baird was able to research her father's experience, gathering records and collecting his personal writings but maybe even more importantly that she was able to meet and talk with people who remember him as "the best [doctor] in town", and said "We all thought he had this giant personality, he didn't hide the fact that he was a Texan, a bit of a wild man.
He enjoyed his reputation - he could get a little crazy, but people loved him for it. Your father once rented a whole floor of the Copley Plaza for a party - that was the talk of the town. Thank you to the Amazon Vine program and Crown publishers for the advanced reader copy given in exchange for an honest review.
Apr 06, Raven Haired Girl added it Shelves: His brilliant mind citing the cruel mistreatment by staff, barbaric treatments administered. His feelings of loneliness and isolation heartbreaking. As his disease appears and fades, his many losses are felt, his heart heavy. The mentally ill patient is often treated like a criminal.
His imprisonment and his case have many parallels to the situation of a criminal. Also he pays a similar price when he returns to society. He finds many things changed. With patience and courage he can earn back what he has lost, if time and circumstance do not operate too forcefully against him. Sadly darkness overshadows his research and his initial findings silenced, however, thankfully noted. His intellect utterly halting. Stripped away of her father at a young age Mimi Baird, craves to fill the void of her father. Questions silenced, his disappearance vaguely acknowledged.
Kennedy charged the country to send a man to the moon. She went on to do the calculations for the first actual moon landing in Johnson worked at the agency until , when she retired after 33 years of service. At the degree ceremony in New York, Johnson discovered at the last minute that not only was she an honoree, but she was also the keynote speaker. With her esteemed career to draw upon, Johnson rose to the occasion and spoke with the audience. Share to Facebook. Tweet This. Share via Email. Hard Science. Futurism April 20th The magician shook his head.
I cannot do it without you.
Surprisingly, it was Mourra who — after a long moment — took firm hold of his left hand, while Findros hesitated until his sister nudged him sharply. Now close your eyes, and repeat everything — everything — I say. We will get home together. He closed his own eyes and began to chant softly and musically. The syllables meant nothing to the children, but their sound was curiously comforting, though Mourra could not imagine why that should be. She kept her eyes tightly shut and repeated the words as clearly as she could, half-singing them as the magician did.
But when her eyes did open, they saw nothing at all different. The countryside around them was as unchanged as the stones under her feet and the pale-gold clouds over the distant red-oak hills. They had started to turn back — Schmendrick offering neither leadership nor resistance — when they saw a farm wagon emerging from the narrow path Mourra had pointed out earlier and swinging toward them. The driver recognized them, as did the horse; it stopped before he had even touched the reins. He was a big man with a white hair topping an amiable red face, set in its turn above broad shoulders and a cheerfully aggressive belly.
Whatever be you doing, so far from home at dinnertime? He was helping us. The farmer eyed Schmendrick up and down, turned his head and spat to the side. Mourra yanked her brother away from feeding handfuls of grass to the old horse, and the children scrambled into the wagon. Schmendrick hesitated, looking as though he would have preferred to walk, and not necessarily in the same direction.
But after a moment he sighed briefly, then shrugged and climbed up beside them, doubling his long legs like a grasshopper to leave room. The driver grunted a single word, and the wagon started on. They had indeed, following Schmendrick, wandered far enough from their road home that it was full twilight by the time the horse halted of its own accord and the farmer pointed down a wildflower slope toward a small, tidy house tucked into a ripple of hillsides. A woman stood in the doorway, shading her eyes, beckoning uncertainly.
The woman was hurrying toward them now, picking up her skirts, as the farm wagon rumbled off. Maybe the wagon…maybe that was the magic. That could be. Schmendrick stared at her without replying. Like with Findros? The magician went on regarding her for a long moment before putting his hand lightly on her head. Mourra found herself holding her breath. Then the coolness was fresh dew on her cheek, the smoothness a velvet petal. The magician was holding up a single flower as pale scarlet as the approaching sunset, as golden as a bee.
There was nothing else in his hand. Mourra took the flower from him slowly, without speaking. Sairey was nearing them, her expression a mixture of anger and immense relief, her right arm occupied by a clinging Findros, the left reaching out for her daughter. Sairey was a small, dark, sturdily-made woman, with a quick eye and a disturbingly level glance.
Where have you been? Mourra was too tired to contradict him. I thought I knew the way home from the picnic. Sairey swept her into her free arm before Mourra had finished speaking. She waved her hand toward the huge old tree in front of their cottage. The way you do sometimes.
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A child on either hip, she looked up at the magician, smiling slightly. Schmendrick bowed more formally than she had done. As I am still. Will you not come in and sit to dinner with us? The magician hesitated — seemed about to decline the offer — then abruptly smiled and nodded.
I do sometimes forget that I am hungry. There was a vegetable stew as well as the soup, and cold, sweet well water. Dinner was — according to Sairey — a quieter affair than usual, the children both being too weary to squabble. Findros actually fell asleep at the table, but Mourra lingered, fishing sleepily but stubbornly for reasons not to go up to bed. She still avoided sitting close to the magician, nor did she meet his glance often.
But the flower that he had taken from her hair reposed precariously in a lopsided clay drinking mug next to her own, and now and then she brushed it against her closed eyes, as though to feel its colors through the lids. A dog howled, somewhere nearby, and Sairey half-rose from her chair, apologizing as she sat back. But the moon wanted to be free, and it struggled and struggled until one night it broke loose from the Earth and sailed right off into the sky, the way it is now.
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And every night the moon comes out and all the dogs in the world see it, and they cry for their families. That is why they always sound so terribly sad. Sairey refilled his cup from the sweating pitcher of well water. You are about to fall asleep in your stew. Go to bed. Mourra did not protest. Just tonight? Flowers die. The flowers in our heads…those survive. Her mother did not respond, not until Mourra had put on her nightdress and crawled under her blanket with the blue and green birds on it that Sairey had woven especially for her.
She brought her flower with her, pressing the fragrant stem against her cheek. Like a firefly in a spiderweb, she thought, remembering the story of the woman whose clothes were made for her by spiders. She sat up and leaned her elbows on the windowsill to see her mother and Schmendrick standing near the old tree. The earliest stars were waking in the deep sky, one by one, and the magician was telling a story. That is a fact — any willow will tell you that. Listen now. He could never catch them, because they fled so fast, but they could never rest, either, for he would always find them, no matter where in the world they hid themselves.
Because all the trees of the world were afraid of the rain god, and none would give them shelter. Only the willow. So then they were safe. So he commanded the willow to stay like that forever, with its branches drooping down, as a warning to all the other trees. Thank you. I will tell it to them. About the dragon. Another puzzled silence in the willow-shadow. Depending on whom you talk to. Sairey sighed.
He was killed plowing a field, when a sinkhole opened under his feet without warning and swallowed him up. One of the rocks in the hole broke his skull. No wonder the children made up a brave ending for him. There was a dragon — there was! Mourra fought back the urge to shut the window and clap her hands over her ears, She leaned against the frame, head bowed, hugging herself, rocking back and forth.
Grief is grief. What difference? Findros was too young, but Mourra…Mourra knows. Mourra ground her knuckles painfully into her eyes, warning them against tears. Quite wise. Grownup talk, grownup noises. Mourra knew from her own experience that Joris had not been a particularly good carpenter: the chair was ruthlessly uncomfortable, however one shifted position; there was no natural headrest; and there were always previously-unnoticed splinters to be dealt with.
She could never imagine how her mother could possibly find any ease on the rough planks, but from time to time she would stubbornly sit there herself, as long as she could bear it. I have far to go, and if I sat down it might be a long time before I rose again. Thank you for your kindness.