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The Best Minds: A Story of Friendship, Madness, and the Tragedy of Good Intentions

por Jonathan Rosen

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24315111,247 (4.02)13
"When the Rosens moved to New Rochelle in 1973, Jonathan Rosen and Michael Laudor seemed destined to become inseparable. The boys, both children of college professors, grew up on the same street in intellectually vibrant homes shaped by ideas, liberal Jewish culture, the trauma of the Holocaust, and a shared love of basketball and standup comedy. But the two best friends were also keen competitors bearing the same great expectations, and when Michael and Jonathan both got into Yale, they seemed set to ascend to the heights of the American meritocratic elite. Leaving Jonathan behind, Michael blazed through college in three years, graduating summa cum laude and landing a top-flight consulting job for far more money than their parents had ever made. But all wasn't as it seemed. One day, Jonathan received the fateful call: Michael had suffered a serious psychotic break and was institutionalized at a New York City psychiatric hospital where he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He would stay there for nine months before transitioning to a halfway house. Facing the prospect of a life spent bagging groceries, Michael decided to play the one card left to him: just before his break, he had been accepted to Yale Law School, and now, against all odds, he planned to enroll. Still struggling mightily with schizophrenia, Michael made it through the top law school in the country. His extraordinary story soon made the front page of the New York Times; an agent sold his memoir to a major publisher for a large sum; Ron Howard swept in to acquire film rights, with Brad Pitt set to star. It was all a dream come true for Michael and his tirelessly supportive girlfriend Carrie. But then, the unimaginable happened: in the grip of an unshakeable paranoid fantasy, Michael stabbed Carrie to death with a kitchen knife. To this day, Michael Laudor remains confined to a maximum-security forensic hospital in upstate New York. The Best Minds is Jonathan Rosen's brilliant and heartbreaking account of what happened to Michael Laudor, and why. Exploring the dramatic transformation of American culture and of society's relationship to mental illness in the second half of the twentieth century, this is a story about the power and limits of the bonds of family, friendship, and community, the lure of the American dream and the promise of academic achievement. At times tender and hilarious, and at times harrowing and almost unbearably sad, The Best Minds is an extreme version of a story that is tragically familiar to all too many. In the hands of a writer of Jonathan Rosen's gifts and dedication, its significance will echo widely"--… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porTJ0513, db179c, JoeB1934, bicknellj, brianinbuffalo, biblioteca privada, ThiaCoan, pbevan, pclittle, MelissaM03
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» Ver também 13 menções

Mostrando 1-5 de 13 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
[4.25] Rosen has accomplished an impressive literary feat by blending a riveting, anecdote-laden biography with a near-encyclopedia that chronicles a century of public perceptions and treatment tactics involving mental illness. Oh — and he manages to deliver vivid vignettes of life in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, referencing dozens of opinion leaders, books, movies and songs. In the hands of a less-skilled author, it could have evolved into a chaotic mess. Rosen pulled it off successfully.
I do have one beef with this otherwise brilliant book. Yes, I’m referring to its length. I’m the first to admit that this is a “me" problem. I tend to become anxious when a book —even a great one — exceeds 400 pages. When it hits 500, I’m almost always eager for the adventure to end. Even Rosen quotes William Faulkner about the importance of ruthlessly editing one’s own words. As Faulkner put it: “You must kill all your darlings.” Some of the biographical reflections could have been trimmed or even eliminated without compromising the narrative. Despite its girth, “The Best Minds” moved along at an impressively fast pace. There were only a few short sections where my interest waned. “The Best Minds” is well worth the investment of time. ( )
  brianinbuffalo | May 21, 2024 |
I was able to get this book from the Libby app, but I don’t really have time to read it. I wanted to listen to it, but the Alexa assistant wouldn’t read the book to me because Amazon is also selling a copy of this on audible which had a decent narrator, but I didn’t want to spend that much money on a book, but I only feel luke warm about. But since it’s not actually giving any information that would be new about schizophrenia it’s not mandatory that I spend as much money. I did look through it, but it was disappointing and it’s the kind of book that it’s gonna make people afraid of anyone with schizophrenia because it seems like this guy just went crazy out of the blue whereas if you read Diane Keaton‘s book about her brother you’ll get a well thought out of someone with schizophrenia. I took away a star because there was not enough analysis of why the murder happened. The book made it seem like the guy had no problems. He just stopped taking his medicine and became a murderer. I am against psychiatric medication. I cannot support this book. ( )
  laurelzito | May 4, 2024 |
Not particularly well-written, but interesting and thought provoking.

What I found interesting and thought provoking
This story is a travesty- due to mental illness, a gifted man's dreams were endangered. Because he was considered "brilliant " he became a "cause celebre " This reminds me of another book I read recently, "All That is Wicked", in which the killer, "Edward Ruloff, was considered too "brilliant " to execute. I kept thinking about the mentally ill who are only of average or below average intelligence. Shouldn't our society try to give them more support?
Was Michael Laudor given false hope, and then left to founder? So many warning signs were ignored because this didn't fit the narrative of the hero overcoming adversity.

What I didn't like:
I usually avoid memoirs, and this is a good example of what I dislike about them. Rosen glorifies the minutiae of his childhood ad nausem. He revels in his and Michael's extraordinary potential. Unfortunately, the victim. Caroline Costello is a mere side note. As an investigator reflected,
"You say 'Michael Laudor, and I think, 'Caroline Costello ', and Caroline isn't here to speak for herself. " (p. 512) ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Apr 11, 2024 |
Very long memoir but well worth the read. In addition to the tragic story of Michael Laudor, the author puts schizophrenia into the historical backdrop of culture, law and psychiatry. ( )
  ghefferon | Mar 21, 2024 |
The Best Minds combines a memoir-esque narrative of the author, Jonathan Rosen, with the tragic story of his childhood best friend, Michael Laudor. Laudor, who infamously rose above his illness to graduate from Yale and Yale Law School only to kill his pregnant fiance in a bout of delusional frenzy, serves as the centerpiece of examining mental health history, legislation, and writings. The author uses their relationship to highlight moments and make the book feel more personal than just research and for me, these were the most successful parts. I found The Best Minds to be too long, but still a very thorough and interesting examination of deinstitutionalization and the ramifications those actions have caused in our country. ( )
  Hccpsk | Mar 20, 2024 |
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"When the Rosens moved to New Rochelle in 1973, Jonathan Rosen and Michael Laudor seemed destined to become inseparable. The boys, both children of college professors, grew up on the same street in intellectually vibrant homes shaped by ideas, liberal Jewish culture, the trauma of the Holocaust, and a shared love of basketball and standup comedy. But the two best friends were also keen competitors bearing the same great expectations, and when Michael and Jonathan both got into Yale, they seemed set to ascend to the heights of the American meritocratic elite. Leaving Jonathan behind, Michael blazed through college in three years, graduating summa cum laude and landing a top-flight consulting job for far more money than their parents had ever made. But all wasn't as it seemed. One day, Jonathan received the fateful call: Michael had suffered a serious psychotic break and was institutionalized at a New York City psychiatric hospital where he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He would stay there for nine months before transitioning to a halfway house. Facing the prospect of a life spent bagging groceries, Michael decided to play the one card left to him: just before his break, he had been accepted to Yale Law School, and now, against all odds, he planned to enroll. Still struggling mightily with schizophrenia, Michael made it through the top law school in the country. His extraordinary story soon made the front page of the New York Times; an agent sold his memoir to a major publisher for a large sum; Ron Howard swept in to acquire film rights, with Brad Pitt set to star. It was all a dream come true for Michael and his tirelessly supportive girlfriend Carrie. But then, the unimaginable happened: in the grip of an unshakeable paranoid fantasy, Michael stabbed Carrie to death with a kitchen knife. To this day, Michael Laudor remains confined to a maximum-security forensic hospital in upstate New York. The Best Minds is Jonathan Rosen's brilliant and heartbreaking account of what happened to Michael Laudor, and why. Exploring the dramatic transformation of American culture and of society's relationship to mental illness in the second half of the twentieth century, this is a story about the power and limits of the bonds of family, friendship, and community, the lure of the American dream and the promise of academic achievement. At times tender and hilarious, and at times harrowing and almost unbearably sad, The Best Minds is an extreme version of a story that is tragically familiar to all too many. In the hands of a writer of Jonathan Rosen's gifts and dedication, its significance will echo widely"--

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