From Robert Kolker, the New York Times best-selling author of Lost Girls, the riveting, heartrending true story of an extraordinary family that became science’s great hope in the quest to conquer an elusive disease.

Hidden Valley Road

Inside the Mind of an American Family

An instant #1 New York Times best seller
and Oprah’s Book Club selection

Robert Kolker

From Robert Kolker, the New York Times best-selling author of Lost Girls, the riveting, heartrending true story of an extraordinary family that became science’s great hope in the quest to conquer an elusive disease.

Hidden Valley Road

Inside the Mind of an American Family

An instant #1 New York Times best seller
and Oprah’s Book Club selection

Robert Kolker

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Critical Praise for Hidden Valley Road

About Hidden Valley Road

Don and Mimi Galvin seemed to be living the American dream. After World War II, Don’s work with the Air Force brought them to Colorado, where their twelve children perfectly spanned the baby boom. There was a script for a family like the Galvins—hard work, upward mobility, domestic harmony—and they all tried to play their parts. But behind the closed doors of the house on Hidden Valley Road was a far different reality: psychological breakdown, sudden shocking violence, and hidden abuse. By the mid-1970s, six of the ten Galvin boys, one after the other, were diagnosed with schizophrenia. And the other six children stood by, horrified, with no way of knowing whether they would be next.

What took place on Hidden Valley Road was so extraordinary that the Galvins became one of the first families to be studied by the National Institute of Mental Health.  In a tour de force of narrative non-fiction, award-winning journalist Robert Kolker, author of the bestselling Lost Girls, tells the intimate story of the Galvins alongside the epic tale of science’s quest to uncover the true nature of a mystifying disease.  Each mentally ill brother emerges as wholly individual, with remarkably different expressions of the same disorder. The two youngest Galvins, the only girls, are indelible characters: best friends, both victimized by their brothers, who make sharply different choices about how to cope. The Galvins’ story crests in a breakthrough that, thanks to their unique DNA, offers hope of eliminating schizophrenia forever. Hidden Valley Road is a captivating medical mystery and a heartbreaking drama. But above all, it is an unforgettable lesson in what it means to be a family.

Explore the Galvin Scrapbook

The images used in Hidden Valley Road — plus extra pictures from the Galvin family album — provided courtesy of the family. 

  • The Galvin family at the U.S. Air Force Academy, 1961
  • Mimi, the family matriarch, in the 1930s
  • Mimi in high school
  • Don, the family patriarch, in high school
  • Don the falconer, early 1950s
  • Back Row: Donald, Jim, John. Front row: Mimi (holding Joe), Brian, Michael, Don, and Richard
  • Donald, the oldest son
  • Jim
  • John
  • Brian
  • Jim, Brian, Donald (holding baby Richard), Michael, and John
  • Richard, Brian, and Michael
  • Eight Galvin boys, circa 1959
  • Michael
  • Joe
  • Mark
  • Matt
  • The Galvins at Hidden Valley Road, mid-1960s
  • Donald, the oldest son, in the mid-1960s
  • Margaret, the eleventh Galvin child and first daughter
  • Lindsay, the youngest
  • Clockwise from top: Peter, Mark, Joe, and Matt
  • Peter, the tenth child and youngest son
  • Lindsay and Margaret
  • Margaret, Peter, and Lindsay
  • Don and Mimi, in their golden years
  • All 12 children with both parents, 1969

Explore the Galvin Scrapbook

The images used in Hidden Valley Road — plus extra pictures from the Galvin family album — provided courtesy of the family. 

  • The Galvin family at the U.S. Air Force Academy, 1961
  • Mimi, the family matriarch, in the 1930s
  • Mimi in high school

About the Author

Robert Kolker is the New York Times bestselling author of Lost Girls, named one of the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Top Ten Books of 2013, and Hidden Valley Road, published by Doubleday in April 2020. Visit the author’s site >