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Henry's Demons: Living with Schizophrenia, a Father and Son's Story by [Cockburn, Patrick, Cockburn, Henry]
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Henry's Demons: Living with Schizophrenia, a Father and Son's Story Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Length: 238 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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`A myth-shredding, light-shedding account explores a condition that few present-tense 'insiders' have ever written about . . . A truly remarkable book, and a brave one' --David Mitchell, author of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and Cloud Atlas

`Intensely moving . . . There is poetry in this prose: the bipolarity of misery and exaltation that Blake understood' --Christopher Hitchens

`A brutally honest account of parental missed signals and misunderstandings -- not surprising, though, given Patrick Cockburn's career of telling it as it is' --Seymour M. Hersh

`Patrick Cockburn brings his formidable skills as a journalist to a still-misunderstood disease that touches millions . . . The tenderness and terror in these pages stayed with me for days' --Claire Fontaine, coauthor of Come Back: A Mother and Daughter's Journey Through Hell and Back

`A compelling, powerful first person account of the gritty realities of living with serious mental illness. Patrick and Henry are utterly real' --Mark Vonnegut, M.D., author of Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So and The Eden Express

'A book about serious mental illness, but it is much more -- it is a story of a father's love for a child' --Seymour M. Hersh

'...a heart-breaking, candid account of his schizophrenia - is an act of valour on both their parts' --The Sunday Times, February 6, 2011

'...a profound sense of gratitude for this family's courage...and crafting it into something of use - and of beauty' --Daily Mail, February 4, 2011

'...brilliantly written account of a devastating illness' --Metro, February 2, 2011

'Henry's chapters...are written with a vivid, child-like truthfulness' --The Guardian, February 5, 2011

'In his sensitivity and delirium Henry resembles the young son in Nabokov's "Signs and Symbols"'
--The New York Times, February 13, 2011

"The book's principal strength...is that it includes Henry's own testimony" --New Statesmen, February 14, 2011

"...it is never boring...a living, breathing book because nearly everyone in his shaggy, expressive family is worth getting to know' --International Herald Tribune, February 10, 2011

"...Henry's account of his own condition flirts with the sense that there is something almost magical going on in his life' --Belfast Telegraph, February 5, 2011

"This joint father-son account of living with schizophrenia will ease the path of affected families while it moves and informs other readers"
--I (mini-Independent), February 16, 2011

'...a frightening, gut-wrenching and fantastical story of a young man's voyage into madness' --Independent on Sunday, February 20, 2011

'... Henry's Demons never loses sight of the personality, the uniqueness, of the sufferer... candid, touching and often funny...' --The Spectator, February 19, 2011

'...if there is a more lucid contemporary rendition of the experience of fully florid, schizophrenic psychosis... I have not come across it.' --The Observer, February 20, 2011

`Candid and moving account by father and son of the latter's struggle with schizophrenia' --Must Reads (x2) The Sunday Times, February 20, 2011

'Patrick tells of the pain of witnessing his son's suffering... yet ultimately delivers a sense of optimism' --Press Association, February 12, 2011

'Patrick writes his chapters with a brilliant journalist's clarity... Henry's chapters... make up the heart and soul of this book' --The Lady, February 22, 2011

'Henry's Demons is delicately constructed... the power of brave confession combined with skilful research... outstanding double memoir' --The Scotsman, February 19, 2011

'Moving and harrowing'
--The Times, 2 July 2011

[I]t is a startling account of mental illness from within and without. Cockburn Senior provides the timeline, context and guilt-laden self-questioning, but it is Henry s simple eloquence that take the reader in to an unknown world, dangerous, horrifying, funny and wretched by turns. --Independent

A war reporter s clear-eyed document of his son s schizophrenia alternates with the young man s strangely beautiful world view. What could be purely painful is uplifting and vital reading --The Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

Patrick Cockburn is Iraq correspondent for the Independent in London. He has received the Martha Gellhorn prize for war reporting, the James Cameron Award, and the Orwell Prize for Journalism. He is the author of Muqtada, about war and rebellion in Iraq; The Occupation (shortlisted for a National Book Critics Circle Award in 2007); The Broken Boy, a memoir; and with Andrew Cockburn, Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein.

Henry Cockburn was born in London and raised in Canterbury, where he attended King's School and received several awards for his artwork.  In 2002, during his first year studying art at Brighton University, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.  He recently moved out of a rehabilitation center to begin living independently.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 711 KB
  • Print Length: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK; 1st edition (3 Feb. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847377033
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847377036
  • ASIN: B004MYFQ5E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #61,860 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Unfortunately I have a huge knowledge of what carers go through and I really liked the brutal honesty of this book. Controversial and unpopular issues are raised (exactly the same as what I have been thinking).We have swung form a world of institutions to politically correct soundbites of freedom for the vulnerable without supportive structures in place. We still have not found the balance. As well as a deep insight into hospitals, their advantages and disadvantages, the book also raises issues regarding cannabis and its underplayed dangers. Needless to say it is well written and researched from an award winning journalist father and an academic mother but it is their emotions laid bare that will resonate most with the reader. Fewer, but significant, chapters are written by their son Henry and they give hope. There are not enough books like this out there. My only regret is that it deals with the British system and not the Irish one. Personal accounts remain eerily silent over here.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is written with great care and intelligence. By his own admission Patrick Cockburn knew nothing about schizophrenia when his son Henry was given that diagnosis about ten years ago but he seems to have read everything he could find in short order like the experienced journalist he is and among other things this book contains useful summaries of a variety of theories about the nature of the condition and its treatment. Cockburn is also very frank about the effect of Henry's experiences on his wider family. Perhaps the greatest value for me in the book however is his careful and accurate description of the way people diagnosed with schizophrenia are cared for in this country. I write as one who worked as a mental health social worker for ten years. For this reason, among others, I would recommend this book to anyone who for whatever reason wants to know about how mental illness is treated.

Cockburn also spells out the agonies carers go through. He states his opinions about various matters trenchantly and I don't always agree with him, especially on Laing and on care in the community. But his views are well put and worthy of careful consideration.

Several chapters of the book are written by Henry who gives a lucid account of his experiences. Like most people who achieve this diagnosis for many years he did not accept that he was ill. It is my belief that the `delusions' suffered by people diagnosed as schizophrenic are as real to them as other people's experience are to them, and I have also found that respecting this is the basis of any real communication with `mad' people. Henry is a talented artist and the way he talks about his communication with trees and other living things evokes a magical but difficult world.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When Patrick Cockburn received a telephone call while reporting in Afghanistan to tell him that his son, Henry, had been admitted into a hospital mental ward the Cockburn family began a long and arduous battle with schizophrenia.

Told by both Patrick and Henry this is the tale of Henry's road to (near) recovery. There are any number of books on the market about dealing with mental illness, but what stands this book out is it is told from both the patient and the family's point of view.

Henry's chapters are told with such honesty and candour that you can't help but to live the hallucinations with him Indeed told in this way it is understandable how he believed in them so wholeheartedly.

The chapters written by Patrick are as you would expect journalistic and informative, but the pain which Henry's illness caused the Cockburn family is clear to see.

It's heartbreaking to read the impact on Patrick and his wife as Henry goes missing for days on end and then the next chapter read what was going on in Henry's head as he tried to commune with nature and obeyed the voices in his head.

This isn't a misery memoir, and even though the health system failed the family in many way, this is not an indictment of the NHS. It is a moving and revealing look at schizophrenia, told in a refreshingly original way. For anyone who is touched by mental illness, and it is as many as one in four of us, should read this and take hope from it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very matter-of-fact book, but it is also an emotionally evocative one. It tells the story of Henry Cockburn (co-author) who is diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2002 at the age of 20 (while an art student in Brighton).

Much of the story is conveyed by Patrick Cockburn, Henry's father, in a considered documentary style. He interweaves explanatory details with narrative account, but what is immediately striking is how little any of the background information on schizophrenia contributes to his (or the reader's) understanding - the condition largely remains a mystery. And so the reader is drawn into the anxiety and bewilderment associated with the situation.

Some parts of the story are narrated by Henry himself, in an almost hurried but extremely arresting style. He talks of experiencing the onset of his condition as a spiritual awakening, with his perspective on the world becoming significantly altered. As some of the events described take place in Brighton - somewhere I'm reasonably familiar with - I personally find it fascinating to see particular experiences unfolding against recognisable backdrops. For instance, there's a vision of the Buddha on Brighton beach, and the planting of a banana tree outside the Concorde 2 music venue. This locatedness - in Brighton and elsewhere - gives an additional tangibility to these occurrences.

A growing sense of the enormity of Henry's condition emerges as the story develops. There is no quick fix for what has happened; in fact, there is no fix at all. Furthermore, Henry himself is not always convinced that he actually has a problem. What he doesn't necessarily always realise - but what becomes clear to his family (and to the reader) - is that this is a life sentence.
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