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Summary

New York Times best-selling author Ron Powers offers a searching, richly researched narrative of the social history of mental illness in America paired with the deeply personal story of his two sons' battles with schizophrenia.

From the centuries of torture of "lunatiks" at Bedlam Asylum to the infamous eugenics era to the follies of the antipsychiatry movement to the current landscape in which too many families struggle alone to manage afflicted love ones, Powers limns our fears and myths about mental illness and the fractured public policies that have resulted.

Braided with that history is the moving story of Powers' beloved son Kevin - spirited, endearing, and gifted - who triumphed even while suffering from schizophrenia until finally he did not, and the story of his courageous surviving son Dean, who is also schizophrenic.

A blend of history, biography, memoir, and current affairs ending with a consideration of where we might go from here, this is a thought-provoking look at a dreaded illness that has long been misunderstood.

©2017 Ron Powers (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"Very emotional...[Powers] reminds us how apathetic and cruel society can be when it comes to mental illness." ( Booklist)
"Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Powers ( MarkTwain: A Life, 2005, etc.) presents two searing sagas: an indictment of mental health care in the United States and the story of his two schizophrenic sons.... This hybrid narrative, enhanced by the author's considerable skills as a literary stylist, succeeds on every level." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"Ron Powers and his wife never expected to visit the exotic lands of schizophrenia until their two sons became affected. A gifted professional writer, Powers takes the reader along on his explorations as he tries to understand why it happened and what to do. What he finds is 'the most dreaded of all human mental disorders.' Very readable and highly recommended." (E. Fuller Torrey, MD, author of Surviving Schizophrenia)

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  • RSR
  • 05-04-18

I needed Ron Powers voice to read this book

Where does No One Cares About Crazy People rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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Do not pick up this book if you don’t really care about crazy people or mental illness. If you do care, this book will be hard – you will cry, you will burn with frustration, you will absorb much information. You will not be able to put this book down, because the most compelling feature of this book, for anyone who has felt the pain of mental illness, is its’ IMPORTANCE! I bought the book and soon felt I lacked the courage to continue reading. But I wanted to. So, I decided to have Ron Powers read his story to me. It was the only way I was able to keep going. He didn’t want to write this book – its’ a book no one wants to write – but you will be forever grateful for his care, his arduous research, and his courage to write AND record this book!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • T. Ralicki
  • 30-01-18

Excellent read

This book opens up the world of mental illness. Not just about the authors son but about others and the failing mental health system. It covers everything from A to Z. Excellent read!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-05-17

Amazing.

I want to make this text required reading for my graduate students in Mental Health Counseling.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Barb Kessel
  • 19-09-17

Of Care and Caring

Ron Powers skillfully intertwines the historic lack of meaningful health care for people suffering from mental illness with the caring and love he and his wife extend to their sons. Though a heart wrenching journey, Powers concludes with hope. First, from advancing medical knowledge and, perhaps more importantly, a vision of community caring to benefit us all.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Laurie
  • 18-06-18

Could Have Been Better

This is an OK survey of the history and results of mental health treatment from an American perspective. On the favorable side, I'd say the research is good and the story is well told.

On the negative side, the author leans rather heavily on the stories of his own two sons. He probably should have waited a bit to write this, as it's clear he's still grieving for his deceased son and struggling with the mental illness of the surviving one. It's apparent that as he writes, he's searching for answers as to WHY his sons were/are schizophrenic. He blames the stress of their lives, their marijuana use, and a bunch of other things. He continually returns to details in his son's lives that would only be interesting to a proud parent. He even reads their emails and school essays. Not to be cruel, but this level of detail detracts from the main story and is just ... TMI. It probably ended up expanding the size of the audio file by several hours. His sons should have taken a less prominent part in the book.

His heavily liberal biases are easy to detect, as well. I found myself agreeing with most of his conclusions, but would have preferred a more objective narration. In these days, that is too much to ask of almost any writer or journalist.

His narration is super. He even does the voices when he's quoting another writer, politician or scientist. He's easy to listen to, he's professional, and his feelings and passions come through.

I don't want to seem too negative. There is a lot of good, meaty information here and I learned a lot. For someone who knows very little about mental health in the US, this would be a great introduction. He does keep the listener's interest. I just feel that there are two, very separate, books here. There's his personal narrative and there's the public story about the mental health system. The two should have been kept separate. Some people might like this style of nonfiction writing; I felt the personal was excessive.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Bob Koncerak
  • 19-05-18

Thorough, personal and helpful.

If you have experience with mental illness in your family or via someone close to you, this book will resonate deeply. I first bought a hardcover copy, but listened to most of it by way of Ron Powers reading. The history of development and usage of psychotropic drugs was most interesting to me, as I've heard all the names over the years. Extremely well researched and thoughtfully compiled. I'm a slow reader, so I'm glad I listened to the audible version! Well-read by the author. Thank you, Mr. Power's, for your helpful contribution to metal health policy reform by way of this book.

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  • jenb
  • 10-07-18

Amazing book!

I love this book! I have experienced all emotions while listening. It is very eye opening and a must read for all. It will make you think differently and more compassionately about mental illness and all families that experience it.

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  • Billy Lange
  • 27-06-18

A work of love

This book was a work of love. It is obviously the author loves his family as he described the details of how it came to be, their trials and tribulations, and their continuing struggles. While this served a purpose for the defining moment of the story, it was a bit excessive, almost obsessive, which caused me to drop a star. I got a sense that the author wrote the book for catharsis and it understandable given what his family went through.

The other half was a call-to-arms to reevaluate our mental health system in the hospitals, courts, and prisons. The author accomplished this by giving a comprehensive review of the history of mental health system from its early concept in Europe to now. This part I found interesting as a medically inclined person.

The narration was decent; nothing more to say about that.

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  • Chris Hilkey
  • 27-06-18

an eye opener

A book that touches on an issue that has been "the elephant in the room" in my personal life as well as the world.

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  • Emily
  • 25-06-18

Won’t soon forget

An incredibly rich and painfully sobering read that could only have been authored by someone with firsthand knowledge of the anguish of chronic mental illness within a family. This book is part memoir and part history lesson. It was far better than I expected, and I won’t soon forget the Powers family or the dozens of names, narratives, and nuances from history to which Mr. Powers exposed me.