Robert Kolker is a former contributing editor at New York Magazine, a former projects and investigations reporter for Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Businessweek, and the author of Lost Girls, a book that was a New York Times best-seller and named one of Publishers Weekly's Top Ten Books of 2013.
Hidden Valley Road: Inside The Mind of An American Family (Doubleday, 2020) is the story of a midcentury American family with twelve children, six of them diagnosed with schizophrenia, that became science's great hope in the quest to understand the disease.Don and Mimi Galvin seemed to be living the American dream. After World War II, Don's work with the Air Force brought them to Colorado, where their twelve children perfectly spanned the baby boom: the oldest born in 1945, the youngest in 1965. In those years, there was an established script for a family like the Galvins--aspiration, hard work, upward mobility, domestic harmony--and they worked hard to play their parts. But behind the scenes was a different story: psychological breakdown, sudden shocking violence, hidden abuse. By the mid-1970s, six of the ten Galvin boys, one after another, were diagnosed as schizophrenic. How could all this happen to one family?What took place inside the house on Hidden Valley Road was so extraordinary that the Galvins became one of the first families to be studied by the National Institute of Mental Health. Their story offers a shadow history of the science of schizophrenia, from the era of institutionalization, lobotomy, and the “schizophrenogenic” mother to the search for genetic markers for the disease, always amid profound disagreements about the nature of the illness itself. And unbeknownst to the Galvins, samples of their DNA informed decades of genetic research that continues today, bringing hope for paths to treatment, prediction, and even eradication of the disease for future generations.Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, writer, Middle East television commentator and host of The NBN’s Van Leer Jerusalem Series on Ideas. Write her at or tweet @embracingwisdom. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
They were the perfect family, until illness took the children, one by one. Robert Kolker joins host Krys Boyd to talk about the Galvin family, which saw schizophrenia take over six of 12 kids – drawing interest from the National Institute of Mental Health. His book is called “Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family.” 
Best-selling author Robert Kolker joins "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King to discuss his new book, "Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family." The book is a true story about a family of 12, and how their experience with mental illness helped transform the research in mental health. Kolker also shares his reaction to learning Oprah Winfrey announced it as a rare non-fiction selection for her Oprah's Book Club.
Robert Kolker, the New York Times bestselling author of Lost Girls, talks to Carol about his new book Hidden Valley Road, which follows the true story of a large family upended by acute schizophrenia in the 1960's and 1970's. At that time, the family hid any suspicion of their abnormal lives, but under the curtain was a history of psychological breakdowns, sudden violence, and abuse. In their conversation, Robert highlights the reception his book received from the Galvin siblings as well as the clear message that mental illness like this is not something industries are willing to solve anytime soon. Book discussed in this episode: Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker Sign up for the weekly newsletter here FOLLOW US Facebook: Website:
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3 hours, 35 minutes
Podchaser Creator ID logo 754240