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Home » Books » Nonfiction » Psychology » Suicide

Night Falls Fast

Understanding Suicide

By Kay Redfield Jamison

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Format: Paperback, 432 pages, Vintage Books ed Edition
Other Information: illustrations
Published In: United States, 01 October 2000
From the author of the best-selling memoir An Unquiet Mind, comes the first major book in a quarter century on suicide, and its terrible pull on the young in particular. Night Falls Fast is tragically timely: suicide has become one of the most common killers of Americans between the ages of fifteen and forty-five. An internationally acknowledged authority on depressive illnesses, Dr. Jamison has also known suicide firsthand: after years of struggling with manic-depression, she tried at age twenty-eight to kill herself. Weaving together a historical and scientific exploration of the subject with personal essays on individual suicides, she brings not only her remarkable compassion and literary skill but also all of her knowledge and research to bear on this devastating problem. This is a book that helps us to understand the suicidal mind, to recognize and come to the aid of those at risk, and to comprehend the profound effects on those left behind. It is critical reading for parents, educators, and anyone wanting to understand this tragic epidemic.

About the Author

KAY REDFIELD JAMISONis a professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as well as an honorary professor of English at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She is the author of the national best sellersAn Unquiet Mind, Night Falls Fast, andTouched with Fire. She is coauthor of the standard medical text on manic-depressive illness and author or coauthor of more than one hundred scientific papers about mood disorders, creativity, and psychopharmacology. Dr. Jamison, the recipient of numerous national and international scientific awards, is a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellow."

Reviews

A professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, Jamison certainly understands suicide well enough: after years of battling manic-depression, she tried to take her own life. A huge first printing. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

"Jamison writes with authority, clarity and clinical reserve--. Powerful as her medicine is, her poetic accounting of this dark death is more affecting still."--Baltimore Sun "Jamison brings us face to face with the suicidal mind in a manner so intense and penetrating that, paradoxically, the immersion in despair she offers is a source of great pleasure."--The Washington Post Book World "This powerful book will change people's lives--and, doubtless, save a few."--Newsday "A profound and impassioned book--it will stand as the authoritative study of suicide for many years."--William Styron, author of Darkness Visible "[Jamison] writes not only in fierce opposition to suicide, but also in passionate vindication of life."--The New York Times Book Review

Providing historical, scientific and other helpful material on suicide, Jamison (An Unquiet Mind), a Johns Hopkins psychiatry professor, makes an excellent contribution to public understanding with this accessible and objective book. There is, she asserts, a suicide every 17 minutes in this country. Identifying suicide as an often preventable medical and social problem, Jamison focuses attention on those under 40 (suicides by those who are older often have different motivations or causes). Citing research that suicide is most common in individuals with mental illness (diagnosed or not), particularly depression and manic depression, she clearly describes the role of hormones and neurotransmitters as well as potential therapies, including lithium and other antidepressants. Jamison presents fascinating facts about suicide in families and in twins, gender disparities, and the impact of the seasons and times of day. She also provides poignant portraits of those who have committed suicideƄfrom the explorer Meriwether Lewis to a high-achieving Air Force Academy graduateƄas well as stories from her own experience. Historical perspective on how different societies have viewed suicide gives context, especially on methods and common locales (in the U.S., San Francisco's Golden Gate bridge is the most popular spot). Critical of her profession for not recognizing suicidal tendencies more readily, Jamison scolds the media and firearms industry as well. The book effectively brings suicide out of the closet, gives general readers insight into symptoms and should increase national awareness of the problem. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

EAN: 9780375701474
ISBN: 0375701478
Publisher: Vintage
Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.1 x 2.4 centimetres (0.33 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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