Angelhead: My Brother's Descent Into Madness

Paperback | June 1, 2005

byGreg Bottoms

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A taut, powerful memoir of madness, Angelhead documents the violent, drug-addled descent of the author's brother, Michael, into schizophrenia. Beginning with Michael's first psychotic break—seeing God in his suburban bedroom window while high on LSD—Greg Bottoms recounts, in gripping, dramatic prose, the bizarre disappearances, suicide attempts, and the shocking crime that land Michael in the psychiatric wing of a maximum security prison. A work of nonfiction with the form and imagery of a novel, Angelhead enables the reader to witness not only the fragmenting of a mind, but of a family as well.

"A tour-de-force memoir. . . . Bottoms writes like a poet, he writes like he is on fire."—Esquire, Book of the Year, 2000

"Angelhead is a brilliant, albeit inconceivably sad book. The fact that Bottoms survived the ordeal is incredible. But the fact that he could write about it with such pathos and insight is nothing less than extraordinary."—Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Greg Bottoms has provided a biographical novel about his brother that may be as close as most of us will ever get to knowing what it is to be truly mad. Angelhead is a story nearly as terrifying as the disease it describes."—Psychology Today

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From the Publisher

A taut, powerful memoir of madness, Angelhead documents the violent, drug-addled descent of the author's brother, Michael, into schizophrenia. Beginning with Michael's first psychotic break—seeing God in his suburban bedroom window while high on LSD—Greg Bottoms recounts, in gripping, dramatic prose, the bizarre disappearances, suicide...

From the Jacket

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...

Greg Bottoms is assistant professor of English at the University of Vermont. He has published stories and essays in Alaska Quarterly Review, Creative Nonfiction, Nerve, and Salon.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:227 pages, 8 × 5.25 × 0.6 inPublished:June 1, 2005Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226067645

ISBN - 13:9780226067643

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

God: A Memory
Middle-Class
Sacrifice
Secrets
Penance
Jesus
Florida
Science
Delinquints
Assistance
Demons
Confession
Infamy
Absence
Intent
Evidence
Apocrypha
Acknowledgments

Editorial Reviews

"I am on record as believing that any day is better when I am not asked to read another memoir. But Greg Bottoms's book caught my attention immediately and drew me in. I read it all in one sitting. I glanced up once or twice to look out of the window and to clear my head, and then when I finished I looked at the window again but it was dark outside. Which, considering what I'd just finished reading, seemed appropriate. "I would feel foolish in saying that the book is powerful and well written. . . . That doesn't seem the point somehow. Angelhead is direct, inventive, clearly imagined, and packs a punch. It is a book people will talk about -- perhaps productively." -- Ann Beattie "Angelhead is a cleanly distilled story of a profound family anguish. On every one of its two hundred pages there are sentences like arrows. The whole work has the beauty of hard, painful truth, arrived at through intelligence, art, and compassion. This is one of the most moving books I've read in a long, long time." -- John Casey "From the Hardcover edition.