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In My Blood: Six Generations of Madness and…

In My Blood: Six Generations of Madness and Desire in an American Family (2002)

by John Sedgwick

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945200,887 (3.68)6
"John Sedgwick's novels introduced readers to the rarified enclave of Brahmin Boston, in which privilege and elitism, handed down from one generation to the next, come at a price. He discovered for himself just how great that price can be when, while writing his second novel, he spiraled into a profound depression that threatened his life.""This crisis provoked him to search for the source of his malaise. Did it begin with him, or did it begin before, possibly even long before, with previous generations whose genes he bore? If so, how had the "family illness," as he came to think of it, shaped their lives, and come to define his? To find the answers, he launched into a full-scale investigation of his family's history - one of the oldest, and fully documented in America. It was, at once, a very personal journey of self-discovery, and a broader retracing of his family's evolution, as he pored over the many extraordinary Sedgwicks who had gone before - from the protean early Speaker of the House Theodore Sedgwick through to Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol's muse and the 1960s "It Girl." Both a brimming family saga and a courageous narrative, the book paints a startlingly candid portrait of a man and an eminent American family."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)



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Showing 5 of 5
I had the good fortune to read this soon after reading The Lost, by Daniel Mendelsohn. I reccomend the combination to genealogy fans. ( )
  cat-ballou | Jan 22, 2014 |
I had the good fortune to read this soon after reading The Lost, by Daniel Mendelsohn. I reccomend the combination to genealogy fans. ( )
  cat-ballou | Jan 22, 2014 |
I had the good fortune to read this soon after reading The Lost, by Daniel Mendelsohn. I reccomend the combination to genealogy fans. ( )
  cat-ballou | Apr 2, 2013 |
Family history of the Sedgewicks - Edie, Kyra, starting with the Revolutionary War ones. After I read Edie by George Plimpton, in the 80s and became obsessed it, how could I not read this? ? He traces his family history, noting the depressive or manic depressive ones in each generation. The history stuff was interesting - I hadn't known about Shay's Rebellion - and the family dirt was good too, though the Plimpton book is better. ( )
  piemouth | Jun 10, 2010 |
I picked up this book mainly because I enjoy memoirs, particularly family memoirs. The author could have helped himself (and his readers) by reading some good examples of the genre in advance of writing his own book. The book lacks balance in its treatment of the six generations. For about the first third of the book, we are treated to exhaustive details about Generation One, both the private and public works of Theodore Sedgwick. John Adams he is not, yet it seemed as if the author would like us to make that comparison. I didn't mind learning about him, but at some point I wanted the author to move the book along.

John Sedgwick is a good writer, which saves the book from being terrible. The book has its moments, but too frequently I found myself not all that interested in what he had to say; too often Sedgwick, evidently not realizing he's doing it, comes across as a spoiled, rich-kid adolescent, whining about his tough life. I was glad when I finally got to the last page. There are many better first-person accounts about manic-depression and mental illness, so unless someone has a particular reason to read about the Sedgwicks, then I wouldn't recommend this book. ( )
  labwriter | Apr 30, 2010 |
Showing 5 of 5
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