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A Mind Unraveled

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  113 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
The compelling story of an acclaimed journalist and New York Times bestselling author's ongoing struggle with epilepsy--his torturous decision to keep his condition a secret to avoid discrimination, and his ensuing decades-long battle to not only survive, but to thrive.

As a college freshman, Kurt Eichenwald awoke one night on the floor of his dorm room, confused and in pai
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published October 16th 2018 by Ballantine Books
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Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I couldn’t stop reading. Eichenwald’s memoir is a powerful and riveting story of how he fought for what was right—the right to have good doctors, the right for a job that was inclusive of him and believed in what he could do, and the right to live as normal of a life as possible. The story begins as Eichenwald is diagnosed with epilepsy during his freshman year of college. After being told by an awful doctor that he should restrict his goals, he is continually misdiagnosed other doctors and almo ...more
Michelle Arredondo
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
With a little over 41o pages it's safe to say that this book is a lot. Alot of information, a lot of content, a lot to think about and ponder issues within our own lives. A Mind Unraveled: A Memoir by Kurt Eichenwald is the true story of Kurt Eichenwald an acclaimed journalist and best selling author and his tormenting struggle with epilepsy. Easily among the list of top 10 non-fiction books that I have read this year so far.

Eichenwald first began experiencing symptoms when he was in high schoo
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
I would have read this book at one clip had my Nook not required a charge toward the end. Riveting, infuriating, informative, human, loving, and reflective -- this memoir tells the story of a man who refused to give into institutional stupidity, professional insufficiency, and personal trauma. He decided, twice in his life, to proceed to a specific goal, one academic, one personal. He achieved his goals because of his own strength while undergoing traumas beyond what most of his readers can even ...more
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: october-2018
This is my number one read of 2018. This book will rip you apart. It is agonizing to go on this journey of epilepsy with Kurt Eichenwald. It is infuriating to meet a bevy of incompetent doctors. There are so many people in this book that I absolutely hated. Yet through it all Kurt never gave up. He kept pushing on demanding answers and never letting epilepsy keep him from accomplishing his goals even when it was really difficult. This book tackles very difficult subjects but is written beautiful ...more
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
This is a well-written, informative, and enlightening book. A long read, but it went by fast because I could not put it down. Hard to believe the way doctors and Swarthmore failed him at many turns, but they did. Disgusting, actually. We should be able to trust those in the medical profession, but here is proof of a frightening opposite scenario. I felt and empathized with the author's anger and frustration, but cheered on his mother when she took control. That Eichenwald came through all of it ...more
Sep 16, 2018 rated it liked it
An in-depth personal account of living with epilepsy, the unvarnished reality of misdiagnosis and the struggles that people with medical challenges face every day. It is quite amazing how Kurt Eichenwald’s determination, motivation, and belief in himself helped power him through the many dark periods in his life as he struggled to get accurate diagnosis despite numerous obstacles. Much has to do with his personality and his persistent nature - at times confrontational, at others slipping into th ...more
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Exceptionally well written memoir that completely held my interest. It’s the story of one young man’s diagnosis of epilepsy in the late 70s. I often find the details in a memoir tedious but this author found the exact right balance. An epilepsy diagnosis is horrible but I had forgotten what a terrible stigma was associated with it in the past and I hadn’t known how hard it often was to get the right diagnosis. This author’s trials and tribulations were way beyond horrible and at times it is hard ...more
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways-won
I received an advanced copy of A Mind Unraveled as part of the giveaway program. Reading Eichenwald's story is like reading my own autobiography. It's amazing how much the public still does not understand epilepsy. Only those who are the closest to the individual really know what the person experience. Kurt was fortunate to have roommates and family who stood by him throughout his life. I thought the idea of making recordings was such a great idea. I wish someone had made that suggestion to me o ...more
Lynn Donahue
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a fascinating look at the life of an epileptic man who just wanted a life like everyone else had. There is so much stigma attached to the condition that he was often forced to fight for the right to do normal things like attend college and get a job. His rise above all the odds was inspiring and you find yourself rooting for him as he forces open closed doors. A true tribute to the human spirit and what can be accomplished through hard work, a supportive family and an unfailing belief i ...more
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A masterfully written text by a young man--now a middle-aged man, husband, and father--who happened to have epilepsy and was kicked out of Swarthmore College his freshman year by a bunch of lying psychologists, neurologists, the dean, and the security department. All of them had progressed past the idea that epilepsy was caused by demon possession, but that it was still pretty weird and dangerous to be falling down and convulsing. They wouldn't admit that his epilepsy was the reason they were ki ...more
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
---Full disclosure: I received this book for free from Goodreads. ---

So, this guy is impressive. Firstly, he deserves kudos for surviving his teens & twenties with such crappy excuses for medical care. Secondly, he deserves recognition for being so honest about his experiences & sharing them with the world, considering what a terribly difficult thing that is to do. Since the time periods described, I know medical care & standards have improved dramatically, & that’s a great thi

Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible
I very much enjoyed this book and I recommend it. It’s not a spoiler because Kurt Eichenwald has been very vocal about it but he made his peace with Swarthmore College in later years and they fully apologized for his treatment. I think it makes the book easier to read if you know this because his treatment there was so painful and heartbreaking.

Living with epilepsy is hard and he doesn’t pull any punches. In the Audible version I liked how various people in his life talked briefly about their o
Deborah Martinez
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
I devoured this book, a compelling read!

A memoir about Kurt Eichenwald struggle with epilepsy. The discrimination he faced in college followed by the work force are horrid to read about.

Eichenwald's story tugged my heart strings a bit more because I suffer with chronic migraines, and so many of his stories about the doctor visits, being over medicated, and being hospitalized I could relate to first hand. A few quotes that really stuck out to me as I relate:

"People like me lived in the shadows,
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5 stars
“The compelling story of an acclaimed journalist and New York Times bestselling author’s ongoing struggle with epilepsy—his torturous decision to keep his condition a secret to avoid discrimination, and his ensuing decades-long battle to not only survive, but to thrive.”
Oh, holy buckets! This book is simply amazing, awe-inspiring, utterly maddening and truly heart warming. I am shocked at how deeply this book touched me. However, as a woman with uncontrolled epilepsy, this book really hit
Kathy Stone
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book from Goodreads. I enjoyed this memoir. This is not easy stuff to read. Epileptics are greatly misunderstood and the drugs to control the condition are very toxic. When the author is first diagnosed his father sends him to a research, academic doctor. This is not a good fit as his blood levels are never checked and monitored. It is as if the doctor is using the eighteen year old as an experiment, but that is not quite true as the doctor conducting research will come later. After a ...more
Diane Payne
Jun 27, 2018 rated it liked it
This memoir will prove to be useful to other people, especially those suffering with epilepsy. Eichenwald does a thorough (perhaps too much at times) job detailing his experiences of first being diagnosed, getting kicked out of college, and eventually landing a successful career. As a memoir, I wish the focus wasn't just on his epilepsy, even though the illness consumes his life, but more about other factors in his life. it's well written, honest, and revealing, but I found the excerpts from oth ...more
Bryan Clark
I won this book in a giveaway, and i literally could not put it down. It was a ver fascinating outlook about a man living with epilepsy, and everything he went through.
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
* Completely compelling and impossible to put down. Personal account of a medical mystery and all the ensuing difficulties.

* I received a free copy of the book in a Goodreads giveaway.
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Mind Unraveled: A Memoir by Kurt Eichenwald is a beautiful, tragic, and strong memoir. I found I had tears in my eyes at many of the things Kurt experienced, both sad at times, and joyful when we was triumphant.

This is the memoir of Kurt Eichenwald who was diagnosed with Epilepsy as a young adult nust entering college in the 1980’s. This book details the author’s struggles with incompetent doctors and college staff who are also incompetent and afraid of what they don’t know. Eichenwald’s docto
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't hardly put this book down. Very interesting, I won this book and I loved it. Thank you!!!
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Mind Unraveled by Kurt Eichenwald

This is a remarkably courageous biography of Kurt Eichenwald and his life long journey with debilitating epilepsy at his heels. There are so many adjectives to describe Kurt's story; courageous, resilient, sad, frustrating, infuriating, scary, strong, remarkable, humiliating, debilitating, but most of all, he has shared with his readers an incredibly humbling educational experience.

I found this story shocking on so many levels. Most shocking of all was that a r
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly excellent read

This should be “required” reading for anyone who knows anyone with epilepsy, or who struggles with it themselves. As a parent of a young child with epilepsy, this will help me to be a better advocate, it also gives me confidence and hope for my child’s future. I will continue to be transparent about her condition, and continue to use humor as a coping mechanism, and continue to teach her that she can accomplish anything as long as she doesn’t give up. I will also keep that st
Ouida Foster
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The author's telling of his path to success in family and career is exciting and compelling. Then, add in all of the challenges that his lifetime with epilepsy contributed to every facet of his journey is amazing. If you are unaware of the impact of Epilepsy, please read and see how a young man pushed and grew and fought his path to success and you will learn about epilepsy along the way. If you do know about epilepsy (I have epilepsy), you may still see parts of his story where there are simila ...more
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"I suffer from the scourge of Christ for my sins. I practice witchcraft, and thousands of my kind have been burned to death. I have been attacked by demons. I am sacred, capable of miracles. I am a seer, blessed by God and infused with the Holy Spirit. I am forbidden from becoming a Catholic priest. I should be institutionalized, chained to walls, as I prepare for my death … I have epilepsy, a condition recorded in every known civilization" (p. 5). Wow! 'A Mind Unraveled' is unbelievable - from ...more
Wendi Moore
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Experience of Having Epilepsy

As someone who has epilepsy and who has been through many of the experiences described in the book, I feel like this story needed to be told. I hope this book can nudge a turning point in the care of patients with this disease. Each doctor tells us something different and prescribes something different making it a much harder journey than it needs to be, just like Kurt describes. Read this book if you have epilepsy or if you know someone who has epilepsy. And gi
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This morning I finished A Mind Unraveled by Kurt Eichenwald and I give it 5 stars. I won this memoir from a Goodreads giveaway following his journey through epilepsy, facing discrimination, fear, pain, incompetent doctors and general ignorance regarding epilepsy. I lost sleep over this book, I was so appalled at how poorly he was treated, the things he went through, but along the way, I was educated more about epilepsy and seizures, and inspired by the way he dealt with everything. I truly strug ...more
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a powerful story that applies not only to those who have epilepsy, but also to anyone with a stigmatizing disease. As lay people we always think doctors know best, but Kurt Eichenwald proves that we have a right to question diagnoses and keep fighting for answers. No one deserves the treatment he received at the hands of professionals or Swarthmore College. Thanks for sharing this cautionary tale. While the book is long, it is well written and holds your attention to the last page.
Val Bodurtha
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fair warning: Do not read Kurt Eichenwald's new book, "A Mind Unraveled," if you've got anything else you need to do for next 24 hours because you won't be able to put it down. It's a heart-stopping tale, as brilliantly told as it's brutal. A modern-day epic by a real flesh-and-blood hero. Audio book is narrated by the author himself, who brings you into the story and speaks with you as if he were telling all this to an old friend. Deserves every prize on the planet.
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A life changing, life affirming book. One the best written memoirs I have read, it chronicles the strength of human will to survive when life throws more than your share of obstacles at you. that it is about epilepsy makes it hit even closer to home for me. It is compellingly readable and as the mother of a son who developed epilepsy at the same age as Kurt, it gives me hope, coping strategies and some threads to go on in getting proper treatment for my son.
Ramzi W Banda
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding! As a neurologist, I am embarrassed to know that members of my profession did so much damage to a patient let alone a fellow human being. I think this book should be required reading in medical schools so that we develop physicians for whom the well being of their patients exceeds the boundaries of their egos. The author, in a most personal manner, elicits in the readers all sorts of conflicting emotions and touches the very core of our humanity. Kudos!
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“Whitman approached Friend. “Dorie?” she said. “Can we speak?” Whitman waited until everyone else left the room to say more. “I want to tell you, if Kurt sues the school, he will win,” she said. “And not only that—I’ll testify on his behalf.” 0 likes
“with growing horror. People at the school had lied to them directly, pretending I was making up stories. The tape ended. No one spoke. “Well?” I asked. “I’m calling your lawyer,” my mother finally said. “And,” my father added, “let’s call your friend at Health and Human Services.” He shook his head, a fury on his face unlike any I had ever seen. “We’re going to destroy this school,” he muttered coldly.” 0 likes
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