History Lessons: A Memoir of Madness, Memory, and the Brain

History Lessons A Memoir of Madness Memory and the Brain Indeed it is memory both elusive and essential that forms the center of Crais s beautifully rendered memoir History Lessons In an effort to restore his own Crais brings the tools of his formal train

  • Title: History Lessons: A Memoir of Madness, Memory, and the Brain
  • Author: Clifton Crais
  • ISBN: 9781468303681
  • Page: 218
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Indeed, it is memory both elusive and essential that forms the center of Crais s beautifully rendered memoir History Lessons In an effort to restore his own, Crais brings the tools of his formal training as a historian to bear on himself and his family He interviews his sisters and his mother, revisits childhood homes and pores over documentary evidence plane tickets, pIndeed, it is memory both elusive and essential that forms the center of Crais s beautifully rendered memoir History Lessons In an effort to restore his own, Crais brings the tools of his formal training as a historian to bear on himself and his family He interviews his sisters and his mother, revisits childhood homes and pores over documentary evidence plane tickets, postmarks, court and medical records, crumbling photo albums Probing family lore, pushing past silences and exhuming long buried family secrets, he arrives, ultimately, at the deepest reaches of the brain Crais examines the science of memory and forgetting, from the ways in which experience shapes the developing brain to the mechanisms that cause the chronic childhood amnesia the most common and least understood form of amnesia from which he suffers.Part memoir, part narrative science and part historical detective story, History Lessons is a provocative, exquisitely crafted investigation into what it means to be human.

    901 Comment

    • Diane S ☔ says:

      Never really remembering his earlier years, the author who is a historian put on his historian hat and investigated his own life much as a historian would investigate a event or person. This takes him back to his family members, including his mother, who is not mentally well enough to either confirm nor deny some of the pieces he thinks he remembers. An early look at the cruel methods employed by mental institutions towards those under their care. These primitive methods, included insulin shock [...]

    • Elizabeth Kennedy says:

      Poignant book written by a self described "contradiction", an historian who can't remember his own past. As he undergoes therapy in this well-written memoir, he starts the historian's process of going back in time to look at the facts. His siblings and parents are not as much help as you would think, so he starts generations before, in Creole Haiti, in French New Orleans. His description of what he finds out about what happened to him breaks your heart, but also has shining moments and glimpses [...]

    • Alyson Bardsley says:

      The brain parts are narrow and not well explained. And how a historian could write a book with zero references is astonishing. The prose is pedestrian.

    • Jacqui says:

      I totally discovered this book by accident whilst actually searching for a similar title, and now I'm so glad I stumbled upon it. History Lessons: A Memoir of Madness, Memory, and the Brain is a great mix of a tragic upbringing, redemption, psychology and history; all beautifully told. If you enjoyed reading The Glass Castle or the historical fiction of Geraldine Brooks, then this book is right up your alley.Memorable Quotes"The past will begin revealing itself as if a soft sea breeze was gently [...]

    • Solange says:

      With a beautiful cover and an intriguing title, I was drawn in. The memoir itself isn't as compelling as I'd hoped, and I think that's primarily because it needed pruning and rewriting. Since I'm quite critical, I will share the positive first. Its redeeming qualities are that the author is clearly a thoughtful, intelligent and articulate person with some well-worded insights. Throughout the book I found quotable lines and paragraphs which I related to so much they buoyed me to the end.The work [...]

    • E Walburg says:

      Almost directly after my last update the book picked up again, an intriguing mix of familial tragedy and personal experience with clinicians. As a whole this memoir is an attempt to sort out a life rife with sorrow, abuse, and neglect from early childhood. It is the account of a hard life that isn't remembered. It begins with Crais's expertise in researching history and bringing these buried things to light. But it becomes muddled in the middle, with random bits of information that mire the narr [...]

    • Danielle Morency says:

      We often hear of PTSD these days. Often the disorder is associated with depression, repressed memories, shattered senses of being. The author discusses his efforts to combat his own childhood amnesia, piecing together his own history of self, and the irony of being an historian. His story is as fragmented as the many interviews and research sessions and random photos he finds along the way. He also speaks of the clinical aspect- the damage done to the mind, the inability to remember even entire [...]

    • Emily B says:

      "History Lessons" by Clifton Crais was a fantastic book to read. I enjoyed it because of the harsh situations he described developing him in to a wonderful person as an adult. It reminds me of one of those stories you read as a kid, talking about the broken down child becoming a star when he/she grows up. For him it was like that in life. I also really liked the message it sent me, to not drag on the past but to look at the present and towards the future. Definitely recommend this book.

    • Mary says:

      Very sad memoir of a historian who can't remember his own New Orleans childhood because of the effect on his developing brain of repeated, severe familial neglect. I appreciated his insights on memory, was reminded of the fact that we all rewrite our own histories, and enjoyed the richness and accuracy of his description of life in New Orleans.

    • Constance says:

      Information on how the brain processes memory, history, and memoir. Enjoyable on many levels. I don't know if I believe in childhood amnesia, though; the spotiness of childhood memories seems pretty common. The story of Crais rising above a truly dismal childhood is inspiring.

    • Jennifer says:

      Going in, I thought this would be more about memory and how it works, and less of a memoir. Still interesting and thought provoking, though.

    • Jsimpson says:

      This memoir was one of the best I have ever read. It read like a textbook on the brain and how it works with regard to trauma and memory.

    • Jesse says:

      Great writing. Extremely vulnerable, powerful story.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *