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He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter's Quest to Know Him
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Crown 2015
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Description
Soon to be a major motion picture, from Brad Pitt and Tony Kushner

A Washington Post Best Book of 2015

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.

 
Texas-born and Harvard-educated, Dr. Perry Baird was a rising medical star in the late 1920s and 1930s. 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. 
     Fifty years after being told her father would forever be “ill” and “away,” Mimi Baird set off on a quest to piece together the memoir and the man. 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.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
02/17/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780804137485
ASIN:
B00MZWA89O
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Mimi Baird. (2015). He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter's Quest to Know Him. Crown.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Mimi Baird. 2015. He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter's Quest to Know Him. Crown.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Mimi Baird, He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter's Quest to Know Him. Crown, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Mimi Baird. He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter's Quest to Know Him. Crown, 2015. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: Mimi Baird, a Bostonian, is a graduate of Colby Sawyer College.  After working at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, she later moved to Woodstock, Vermont, where she worked as an office manager at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. There she met a surgeon who had once known her father, a meeting that prompted her quest to finally understand her father’s life and legacy.  Mimi has two children and four grandchildren.  This is her first book.
         
        Eve Claxton was born in London. She has been instrumental in creating six works of non-fiction as a co-writer or ghostwriter, and is the editor of The Book of Life, an anthology of memoir. She also works with StoryCorps, the National Oral History Project featured on NPR. Eve lives with her husband and three children in Brooklyn.
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title
He Wanted the Moon
fullDescription
Soon to be a major motion picture, from Brad Pitt and Tony Kushner

A Washington Post Best Book of 2015

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.

 
Texas-born and Harvard-educated, Dr. Perry Baird was a rising medical star in the late 1920s and 1930s. 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. 
     Fifty years after being told her father would forever be “ill” and “away,” Mimi Baird set off on a quest to piece together the memoir and the man. 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.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides and Death of Santini
      • content: "He Wanted the Moon is one of the most disturbing and profoundly moving books I've read in years, and one of the great father-daughter books of our time. It will take its place as a classic in the literature of breakdown, alongside Kay Redfield Jamison's An Unquiet Mind and William Styron's Darkness Visible. The brilliant Dr. Perry Baird's memoir lets you see up close what it is like to go through the most manic phases of bipolar disorder--it is a nightmare, but this book is a damn wonder. Through it, Mimi Baird has finally given her father the credit he was due."
      • premium: False
      • source: Dr. Elliot Valenstein, author of Blaming the Brain and professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Michigan
      • content: "He Wanted the Moon details the horrendous treatment commonly given to patients at a time when there was no known way of ameliorating the dangerous and self-destructive behavior that often characterizes manic-depression. This is a fascinating and informative book which I would highly recommend."
      • premium: False
      • source: Thomas Powers, Pulitzer-Prize winner and author of The Killing of Crazy Horse
      • content: "Mimi Baird's short book about her father's long struggle with mental illness is a tale within a tale. She longed to know why he had simply disappeared one day from her life, and what she found was his own vivid account of watching himself slide into darkness. Mimi has performed a quiet miracle, giving life back to a man everyone wanted to forget."
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist
      • content: "Astonishing in its illuminations...This striking and poignant family story evokes compassion for everyone affected by this cruel malady."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews
      • content: "Moving...[Baird] sketches the life of a man who had done brilliantly in college and medical school--even co-authoring a paper with the eminent physiologist Walter Cannon--but who would be felled by psychosis...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."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        October 27, 2014
        Thanks to a chance meeting 20 years ago with one of her father’s former colleagues, Baird, daughter of Perry Baird—a Harvard-educated mid-20th-century physician of some renown who was locked away and never spoken of as he succumbed to the ravages of mental illness—gets the keys to unlocking the mystery of what happened to her father. Perry Baird was diagnosed with manic depression in the 1930s at a time when doctors had little comprehension of the disease and employed shockingly barbaric and useless “cures” such as straitjackets, isolation, and lobotomies on institutionalized patients. Perry Baird was a pioneer in attempting to understand the workings of manic depression, conducting lab experiments to find the biochemical cause as the illness steadily took hold of him. His daughter, who saw him only once after he’d been sent to a mental hospital when she was still a young child—aided by the unearthed manuscript her father had written while committed that she pieces together and includes—seeks to unravel the heartbreaking circumstances of what befell her father for all those decades when her family refused to talk about him. She is the one who rediscovers her father’s experiments and gets him the long overdue credit from the scientific community he deserved. In bringing her father’s harrowing, tragic, and moving story to life, Mimi Baird celebrates him and gives voice to the terrible suffering the mentally ill once endured, and still do today, and challenges the prejudices and misperceptions the public continues to have about the disease.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        December 15, 2014
        Mimi Baird's father, a Boston dermatologist, disappeared from her life when she was nearly six in 1944. Thereafter, all she knew was that he suffered from manic depression until his death in 1959. In 1994, she was given his unfinished memoir about his forced commitment to a state psychiatric institution. Perry Baird wrote out of a cauldron of despair, and indeed, his chronicle, which his daughter now shares, of the barbaric treatments he endured in the era before psychoactive medications is harrowing and sad. Yet it is also astonishing in its illuminations. Here is a doctor precisely describing his own delusions, bizarre strength and energy (he was a veritable Houdini with straitjackets), and overwhelming destructive urges. With cowriter Claxton, Mimi, formerly a medical center manager, provides a rich biographical context, complete with hospital records, for her father's nightmarish ordeals and, in a surprise twist, secures his rightful place in medical history by documenting Perry Baird's pioneering research into the biochemical source of his disease. This striking and poignant family story evokes compassion for everyone affected by this cruel malady.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription
Soon to be a major motion picture, from Brad Pitt and Tony Kushner

A Washington Post Best Book of 2015

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.

 
Texas-born and Harvard-educated, Dr. Perry Baird was a rising medical star in the late 1920s and 1930s. 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...
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The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter's Quest to Know Him
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Crown