He Wanted the Moon He Wanted the Moon

He Wanted the Moon

The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter's Quest to Know Him

    • 4.4 • 47 Ratings
    • $14.99
    • $14.99

Publisher Description

Soon to be a major motion picture, from Brad Pitt and Tony Kushner

A Washington Post Best Book of 2015

A mid-century doctor's raw, unvarnished account of his own descent into madness, and his daughter's attempt to piece his life back together and make sense of her own.

Texas-born and Harvard-educated, Dr. Perry Baird was a rising medical star in the late 1920s and 1930s. Early in his career, ahead of his time, he grew fascinated with identifying the biochemical root of manic depression, just as he began to suffer from it himself. By the time the results of his groundbreaking experiments were published, Dr. Baird had been institutionalized multiple times, his medical license revoked, and his wife and daughters estranged. He later received a lobotomy and died from a consequent seizure, his research incomplete, his achievements unrecognized.
            Mimi Baird grew up never fully knowing this story, as her family went silent about the father who had been absent for most of her childhood. Decades later, a string of extraordinary coincidences led to the recovery of a manuscript which Dr. Baird had worked on throughout his brutal institutionalization, confinement, and escape. This remarkable document, reflecting periods of both manic exhilaration and clear-headed health, presents a startling portrait of a man who was a uniquely astute observer of his own condition, struggling with a disease for which there was no cure, racing against time to unlock the key to treatment before his illness became impossible to manage. 
     Fifty years after being told her father would forever be “ill” and “away,” Mimi Baird set off on a quest to piece together the memoir and the man. In time her fingers became stained with the lead of the pencil he had used to write his manuscript, as she devoted herself to understanding who he was, why he disappeared, and what legacy she had inherited. The result of his extraordinary record and her journey to bring his name to light is He Wanted the Moon, an unforgettable testament to the reaches of the mind and the redeeming power of a determined heart.

Biographies & Memoirs
February 17
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

Cin A Min ,


I have manic depression. Despite the highs, the lows and a couple of stays in a hospital, I lead a pretty normal life. It is hard to imagine how mental illness and it’s treatments were dealt with over 50 years ago. I am glad you were able to reconstruct his life. He would have been very proud of your effort !!

More Books Like This

Smoking Cigarettes, Eating Glass Smoking Cigarettes, Eating Glass
Beautiful Unbroken Beautiful Unbroken
Everything and Nothing Everything and Nothing
The Story of My Father The Story of My Father
Dancing with the Octopus Dancing with the Octopus
The Moonlight Sonata at the Mayo Clinic The Moonlight Sonata at the Mayo Clinic

More Books by Mimi Baird & Eve Claxton

Customers Also Bought

My Lobotomy My Lobotomy
My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward
Shards Shards
Smacked Smacked
Between Two Kingdoms Between Two Kingdoms
Hidden Valley Road Hidden Valley Road