Hidden Valley Road - Robert Kolker

Hidden Valley Road

By Robert Kolker

  • Release Date: 2020-04-07
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Size: 15.34 MB
Score: 4
From 1,245 Ratings

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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.

Don 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.


  • Should have been much shorter

    By Nhnylmz
    This book is catchy in the beginning, but it becomes very boring and repetitive after chapter 25 or so. Chapters from 25 to 45 could have been only five chapters. I really pushed myself to finish it. Overall, I think it’s mediocre. I was not deeply moved.
  • Masterpiece

    This book, unfortunately, is a story of heart-break, disappointments, hope and resilience, cover-to-cover. If you’re looking for those elements, well this is the book to read. Thank you Galvin family for sharing your story and vulnerability. Just like your DNA samples, this story will live on for generations.
  • Hidden Valley Road

    By Karen Hunger
    Such a heartbreaking and disturbing story. So sorry for all this family went through in trying different “cures” and understanding this disease .! Had a nephew with it. He was such a kind, sweet and talented young man but didn’t always want to take medication for the way it made him feel. Sadly he got hooked on beer and cigarettes and passed away at a young age. He is part of the reason I wanted to read this book. Thanks for this interesting and somewhat inspiring book.
  • JP

    By Old Man cyclist
    This is a well written interesting, though tragic story. For mental health professionals it is a must read.
  • Just okay

    By Lisa Guilin
    I chose this because of Oprah’s book club but it just wasn’t that interesting
  • Great Book

    By Edisonthadon
    A must read especially if you’re from Washington state. All these schizophrenics out here lol
  • Bad

    By gghjgvjkhvbhk
    Please put new books please I hate every book you put.
  • An incredible story that you can’t put down

    By Miner52
    This is one of the first full books I’ve started and completed in a long time, and I finished it in about a week. From the intricacies of the family dynamics to the mingling of scientific research with character testimony, Hidden Valley Road is a fantastic balance of learning something new and feeling right at home with a family that is so different from my own. The way the author mirrors the findings of the scientists to the timeline of the family’s health developments and deteriorations is so captivating, that I found myself following up with some of the other articles published by these scientists, as well. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in getting a better look at how the brain works, without the fear of being drowned in medical jargon.
  • Hidden valley road

    By missmcgonagle
    Little boring, family was dysfunctional, sad to see so much mental illness in one family
  • Hard to put down

    By RayMichele81
    Intriguing read! Very insightful!