What Disturbs Our Blood: A Son's Quest To Redeem The Past

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What Disturbs Our Blood: A Son's Quest To Redeem The Past

by James Fitzgerald

Random House of Canada | January 3, 2012 | Trade Paperback

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A rich, unmined piece of Canadian history, an intense psychological drama, a mystery to be solved… and a hardwon escape from a family curse

Like his friends Banting and Best, Dr. John Fitzgerald was a Canadian hero. He founded Connaught Labs, saved untold lives with his vaccines and transformed the idea of public health in Canada and the world. What so darkened his reputation that his memory has been all but erased?

A sensitive, withdrawn boy is born into the gothic house of his long dead grandfather, a brilliant yet tormented pathologist of Irish blood and epic accomplishment whose memory has been mysteriously erased from public consciousness. As the boy watches his own father - also an eminent doctor - plunge into a suicidal psychosis, he intuits, as the psychiatrists do not, some unspeakable secret buried like a tumour deep in the multi-generational layers of the family unconscious. Growing into manhood, he knows in his bones that he must stalk an ancient curse before it stalks him. To set himself free, he must break the silence and put words to the page. His future lies in the past.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 512 pages, 8.98 × 6 × 1.02 in

Published: January 3, 2012

Publisher: Random House of Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0679313168

ISBN - 13: 9780679313168

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– More About This Product –

What Disturbs Our Blood: A Son's Quest To Redeem The Past

by James Fitzgerald

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 512 pages, 8.98 × 6 × 1.02 in

Published: January 3, 2012

Publisher: Random House of Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0679313168

ISBN - 13: 9780679313168

Read from the Book

One The Ghosts of Balmoral   Those who know ghosts tell us that they long to be released from their ghost life and led to rest as ancestors. As ancestors, they live forth in the present generation, while as ghosts they are compelled to haunt the present generation with their shadow life. Hans Loewald, On the Therapeutic Action of Psychoanalysis     My story opens in the haunted house of my birth. Three storeys tall, nearly a century old, the place stands silent in my memory, as lean and austere as the midnight hands of a grandfather clock. Erected by my paternal grandparents at the outbreak of the Great War, the timbered beams, grey stuccoed walls, dormered windows, and chimneyed roof cast the sombre shadows of a past that holds me still. Night after night, my adult dreams still pull me down, back through its darkening staircases and corridors, nudging open the door of the nursery where I slept as a child.   Like my father before me, I was conceived in the second floor master bedroom. In my case, it was on a bleak January night in 1950, in the perfect middle of the century, in the perfect middle of the city of Toronto, the economic engine of English Canada. I arrived nine months later, a celiac baby afflicted with poor digestion; whatever I was asked to swallow, I spat out. Like all infants, I was an open vessel, exquisitely attuned with innocent intuition. From the start, I knew in my bones that 186 Balmoral Avenue was inhospitable to children.   In
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Table of Contents

Prologue
 
Part I
1. The Ghosts of Balmoral
2. Room at the Top
3. Daddy Ded
4. Dr. FitzGerald Must Learn to Cover Up His Feelings
5. In Dreams
6. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
7. I'm My Own Grandpa
8. The Unpardonable Sin
 
Part II
9. Science Has No Fatherland
10. Crucible of Ambition
11. A Kind of Superman
12. Gospel Certainty of Relapse
13. I Am a Mass of Flesh, and You Are Another
14. Salvation Lies in the Most Concrete Records
15. The Travel Bug
 
Part III
16. The Miracle in a Stable
17. Born with the Dead
18. The Sugar Sickness
19. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
20. Mens Sana In Corpore Sano
21. The High Priest of Quality Control
22. A Monument More Lasting Than Bronze
 
Part IV
23. Hell of a Good
24. The Living Lie
25. . . . and the Penalty Is Death
26. Damn Clever, These Spooks!
27. Occam's Razor
28. The Archaeology of Silence
 
Acknowledgements
Select Bibliography And Sources
Permissions
Photo Credits
Index


From the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

A rich, unmined piece of Canadian history, an intense psychological drama, a mystery to be solved… and a hardwon escape from a family curse

Like his friends Banting and Best, Dr. John Fitzgerald was a Canadian hero. He founded Connaught Labs, saved untold lives with his vaccines and transformed the idea of public health in Canada and the world. What so darkened his reputation that his memory has been all but erased?

A sensitive, withdrawn boy is born into the gothic house of his long dead grandfather, a brilliant yet tormented pathologist of Irish blood and epic accomplishment whose memory has been mysteriously erased from public consciousness. As the boy watches his own father - also an eminent doctor - plunge into a suicidal psychosis, he intuits, as the psychiatrists do not, some unspeakable secret buried like a tumour deep in the multi-generational layers of the family unconscious. Growing into manhood, he knows in his bones that he must stalk an ancient curse before it stalks him. To set himself free, he must break the silence and put words to the page. His future lies in the past.

About the Author

JAMES FITZGERALD is a journalist and author whose first book, Old Boys: The Powerful Legacy of Upper Canada College, was a controversial inside look at the attitudes and mores of Canada''s ruling class. Revelations of the sexual abuse of boys at the school, first published in the book, led to the charging and conviction of two former teachers and the launching of a class action lawsuit against the college in 2002. The article that sparked What Disturbs Our Blood won a National Magazine Award.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

WINNER 2012 – Donald Grant Creighton Award from the Ontario Historical Society NOMINEE 2011 – Toronto Book Awards “A brave and compelling journey into the world of mental illness, and a riveting look at the father-son divides in a family of talented overachievers. . . . FitzGerald manages to tie in important Canadian medical discoveries, two world wars, and the history of Ireland in an ambitious, yet riveting narrative. In heartfelt, lively, and meticulously researched prose, he links the personal to the political.” —Writers’ Trust of Canada Non-Fiction Prize jury citation   “The emotional chilliness of early twentieth-century Toronto is blended with a tragic story of brilliant scientists and physicians doomed to madness, in journalist James FitzGerald’s memoir, What Disturbs Our Blood . . . . Never maudlin or melodramatic, FitzGerald’s book is a masterpiece of its genre, the chronicle of family secrets unearthed and healing attained.” —BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction jury citation    “A memoir of extraordinary power and candour. . . . This book is as riveting as a crime thriller. . . . Every writer has one great story to tell. This is James FitzGerald’s story.” —Patricia Pearson, The Globe and Mail   “ What Disturbs Our Blood is beautifully orchestrated. . . . It’s a roaring cumulative set-piece, a pageant of hectoring souls. . . . A fascinatin
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