Angelhead: My Brother's Decent Into Madness

Greg Bottoms

ISBN 10: 0747252718 / ISBN 13: 9780747252719
Verlag: Headline, 2001
Gebraucht Hardcover
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Very Good - in Very Good Dust Wrapper. A little rubbing to the edges of the dust wrapper. Leans slightly. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 158716

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Bibliografische Details

Titel: Angelhead: My Brother's Decent Into Madness

Verlag: Headline

Erscheinungsdatum: 2001

Einband: Hardback in Dust Wrapper.

Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Dust Jacket Included

Auflage: 1st Edition

Über diesen Titel


In pitch-perfect prose, Greg Bottoms shows with great empathy and dramatic tension the psychological decline of his brother as he becomes obsessed first with heavy metal music, martial arts, and the occult, and then with the more bizarre aspects of Christianity. We see not only the effect Michael's odd and increasingly violent behavior has on the people around him, but also come to understand how the author, now a successful writer and journalist, used the power of language and storytelling both to save himself and to forgive his brother.


When he was 10 years old, the author watched as his brother Michael lost his mind. High on LSD and screaming uncontrollably because God was torturing him, the 14-year-old smashed everything in his bedroom, his feet red with blood from broken glass. Michael collected snakes and let them slither around his naked body; he beat Greg nearly senseless, then smashed his own forehead into a sharp branch in repentance; he stayed up all night, watching Christian television or "puzzling over his strange and cruel distance from God." Their parents, preoccupied by the ceaseless work that had taken them from a dirt-poor Virginia town to an affluent suburb that they really couldn't afford, thought drugs the problem and throwing Michael out the answer. Not until 1977, when he was 21, did they learn that he was an acute paranoid schizophrenic, so severely mentally ill that he probably would never be healed, although medication might control his behavior. Michael became increasingly dangerous, but could not be institutionalized against his will; when he set their house on fire in 1993, the father's reaction was relief: "This was the best thing that could have happened.... He'll be put away." He was, and, Bottoms acknowledges, "We've all found a peace without Michael that we're not willing to give up." There's no false sentiment in this unflinching memoir of a family that's alienated, instead of united, by tragedy: "We all hid from each other," Bottoms writes with characteristic candor. "We shared a space, a roof, nothing else." There is, however, tremendous sorrow for a blighted life and the havoc that it wrought. Bottoms's finely crafted prose offers no consolation or easy answers--simply emotional precision and the satisfaction of hard truth. --Wendy Smith

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