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"We have a situation that borders on a snake pit." - Robert F. Kennedy  

In 1987, following a public outcry about its questionable medical practices, Staten Island's Willowbrook State School for people with intellectual disabilities closed its doors for good.

Flat broke and almost finished with graduate school, Dan Tomasulo - now a core faculty member at Columbia University's Spirituality Mind Body Institute - was hired to relocate Willowbrook's most severely disabled inhabitants into a groundbreaking community-based group home. 

American Snake Pit is the story of the disregarded souls who ended up in Tomasulo's care; of the eccentric, resilient staff who helped make such a momentous success possible; and, most of all, of one man's persistent struggle to give voices to those who could not advocate for themselves.

©2018 Daniel Tomasulo (P)2018 Daniel Tomasulo

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  • Peter Berridge
  • 16-07-18

Twice in three days!

During long drives this week, I tuned into Dan's book, American Snake Pit. I'm a regular Audible subscriber and usually listen to part of a book, sometimes the whole book, and rarely the same book twice. This is the first time I've listened to the same book twice in three days. American Snake Pit is riveting, educating, hilarious and poignant. The narrator does an excellent job and Dan's writing creates a vivid mental picture that draws you in. It was during the return trip home when I played the book for my sister, a pediatric nurse. I found myself looking forward to her discovery of each chapter - she loved it. So much so that she just purchased her first Audible book - American Snake Pit.

We laughed and were moved by this incredible story of challenge and transformation. I can't wait to see the movie!


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