Media Appearances for Hidden Valley Road and Robert Kolker
The narrative takes us into the heart of the family home — the boys’ fighting, their accomplishments and the development, eventually, of schizophrenia in six of them. Thanks to Kolker’s research and the family’s forthrightness, he gives us a robust picture of how the disease shaped the family, but also how it looked, manifesting itself differently in each affected son. That helps to create an awareness, at least, if not an understanding of what schizophrenia is.
In this episode, we dive into the remarkable story of one American family, the Galvins: Mimi, Don, and their 12 children, 6 of whom were afflicted with schizophrenia. Robert Kolker follows the Galvin’s from the 1950s to today, through, he writes, “the eras of institutionalization and shock therapy, the debates between psycho-therapy versus medication, the needle-in-a-haystack search for genetic markers for the disease, and the profound disagreements about the cause and origin of the illness itself.” So this conversation, with a16z’s Hanne Tidnam, is more than a portrait of one family; it covers all of how we have struggled over the last decades to understand this mysterious and devastating mental illness: the biology of it, the drivers, the behaviors and pathology, the genomics, and of course the search for treatments that might help, from lobotomies to ECT to thorazine.
“The Story of Schizophrenia,” April 7, 2020
Oprah Announces New Oprah’s Book Club Pick: Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker
Hidden Valley Road is a momentous medical mystery by an acclaimed journalist.
“This is a riveting true story of an American family that reads like a medical detective journey,” said Oprah Winfrey of her 84th pick, and her fourth in partnership with Apple. “It reveals the shame, denial, shock, confusion and misunderstanding of mental illness at a time when no one was really sure what schizophrenia was or how to treat it,” she said.
“[Hidden Valley Road] certainly resonates with what’s going on right now, but it’s also a timeless look at how families care for one another in any circumstance.”