Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Man With the Electrified Brain

New nonfiction from Byliner - - The Main With the Electrified Brain by Simon Winchester:

Simon Winchester has never shied away from big, even enormous, topics—as evidenced by his bestselling biography of the Atlantic Ocean, his account of the Krakatoa volcanic eruption, and his wildly popular “The Professor and the Madman,” about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary. In his Byliner Original “The Man with the Electrified Brain,” he takes on arguably his most daunting subject yet: his own flirtation with madness, and one of nature’s greatest and most enduring mysteries, the human brain.

As a geology student in his second year at Oxford, Winchester was known as a young man of even temper and keen intellect, until one June morning when he woke to find himself “changed with dreadful suddenness into another being altogether,” his normal life “slumped into chasm” and “folded in the dirt.” For a period of nine days, he lived in immobilizing fear. Everyday items—familiar paintings, a pile of books, his own robe hanging from a hook—became objects of horror; the world lost color, purpose, all sense and safety. When the episode finally passed, he returned to normal, presuming that what had happened to him was a fluke. It wasn’t. The episode repeated itself at unpredictable and dangerous intervals for four years—always lasting for nine days—and very nearly caused the author’s death while he was on an expedition in the Arctic.

What was wrong with him? Where could he find help? Would he spend the rest of his life anticipating the return of these mental blackouts? With the urgency of a whodunit, Winchester describes the coming and going of these terrifying dissociative states and the chance encounter that led to the controversial treatment of electroconvulsive therapy, which may or may not have cured him once and for all.

Written by a consummate storyteller, “The Man with the Electrified Brain” locates that finest of lines between sanity and insanity and is Winchester’s most riveting and deeply personal work yet.
It's a $2 download at Amazon. Highly recommended if you're interested in mental illness and electroshock treatment.

I also have one copy to give away.  First commenter to leave their email wins.  (If you've won a recent contest, please consider letting someone else win.)