From the Library – Iron Book Discussion Group Will Read “Hidden Valley Road” in July 2022

The Iron Book Discussion Group will discuss Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker in July:


BOOK DESCRIPTION: 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: the oldest born in 1945, the youngest in 1965. In those years, there was an established script for a family like the Galvins–aspiration, hard work, upward mobility, domestic harmony–and they worked hard to play their parts. But behind the scenes was a different story: psychological breakdown, sudden shocking violence, hidden abuse. By the mid-1970s, six of the ten Galvin boys, one after another, were diagnosed as schizophrenic. How could all this happen to one family?

What took place inside the house 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. Their story offers a shadow history of the science of schizophrenia, from the era of institutionalization, lobotomy, and the schizophrenogenic mother to the search for genetic markers for the disease, always amid profound disagreements about the nature of the illness itself. And unbeknownst to the Galvins, samples of their DNA informed decades of genetic research that continues today, offering paths to treatment, prediction, and even eradication of the disease for future generations.


An in-person discussion of Hidden Valley Road will be held at the library on Tuesday, July 12, at 7:00 PM.

And an online discussion of the book will be held via Zoom on Thursday, July 14, at 3:00 PM. Participants will receive an email with the login information for Zoom after registering.

Copies of the book are now available on the Book Discussion Shelf for a 30-day loan period.

Hidden Valley Road is also available to download as an ebook or audiobook through Overdrive.

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