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The best minds : a story of friendship, madness, and the tragedy of good intentions  Cover Image Book Book

The best minds : a story of friendship, madness, and the tragedy of good intentions / Jonathan Rosen.


"When the Rosens moved to New Rochelle in 1973, Jonathan Rosen and Michael Laudor seemed destined to become inseparable. The boys, both children of college professors, grew up on the same street in intellectually vibrant homes shaped by ideas, liberal Jewish culture, the trauma of the Holocaust, and a shared love of basketball and standup comedy. But the two best friends were also keen competitors bearing the same great expectations, and when Michael and Jonathan both got into Yale, they seemed set to ascend to the heights of the American meritocratic elite. Leaving Jonathan behind, Michael blazed through college in three years, graduating summa cum laude and landing a top-flight consulting job for far more money than their parents had ever made. But all wasn't as it seemed. One day, Jonathan received the fateful call: Michael had suffered a serious psychotic break and was institutionalized at a New York City psychiatric hospital where he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He would stay there for nine months before transitioning to a halfway house. Facing the prospect of a life spent bagging groceries, Michael decided to play the one card left to him: just before his break, he had been accepted to Yale Law School, and now, against all odds, he planned to enroll. Still struggling mightily with schizophrenia, Michael made it through the top law school in the country. His extraordinary story soon made the front page of the New York Times; an agent sold his memoir to a major publisher for a large sum; Ron Howard swept in to acquire film rights, with Brad Pitt set to star. It was all a dream come true for Michael and his tirelessly supportive girlfriend Carrie. But then, the unimaginable happened: in the grip of an unshakable paranoid fantasy, Michael stabbed Carrie to death with a kitchen knife. To this day, Michael Laudor remains confined to a maximum-security forensic hospital in upstate New York. The Best Minds is Jonathan Rosen's brilliant and heartbreaking account of what happened to Michael Laudor, and why. Exploring the dramatic transformation of American culture and of society's relationship to mental illness in the second half of the twentieth century, this is a story about the power and limits of the bonds of family, friendship, and community, the lure of the American dream and the promise of academic achievement. At times tender and hilarious, and at times harrowing and almost unbearably sad, The Best Minds is an extreme version of a story that is tragically familiar to all too many. In the hands of a writer of Jonathan Rosen's gifts and dedication, its significance will echo widely"-- Provided by publisher.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9781594206573
  • ISBN: 1594206570
  • Physical Description: 562 pages ; 25 cm
  • Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2023.

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references (pages 531-539) and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
The suitable playmate -- The good earth -- Memory glass -- Strangers -- American pie -- Freedom summer -- Message in a bottle -- Misreading -- The shadow knows -- Revolving door -- Going sane -- Stories -- Choosing -- The break -- Entanglement -- Locked ward -- Making illness a weapon -- Underclass -- Halfway -- Brains -- Mentors -- Precedent -- Secrets -- The sympathetic light of sickness -- Happy idiot -- Postdoc -- Thoughtful enabling -- Career killer -- Role model -- Twice born -- Creativity, inc. -- Michael called Kevin -- Shamans -- Equal opportunity -- The backward journey -- The two Adams -- Personal emergency -- Going back -- The fatal funnel -- Cain and Abel -- The eternal optimist -- Endings -- Epilogue. No going back.
Subject: Laudor, Michael.
Schizophrenics > United States > Biography.
Rosen, Jonathan, 1963- > Friends and associates.
Male friendship > United States.
New York (State) > Biography.
Rosen, Jonathan, 1963-
Male friendship.
New York (State)
United States.
Men's friendships.
Schizophrenics > Biography.
New York (State) > Biography.
Genre: Biography.

Available copies

  • 1 of 2 copies available at Skagit Evergreen Libraries. (Show)
  • 0 of 1 copy available at La Conner Regional Library District. (Show)
  • 0 of 1 copy available at La Conner Regional Library.


  • 0 current holds with 2 total copies.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
La Conner Regional Library BIO LAUDOR 112764 BIOGRAPHY Checked out 10/06/2023

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