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Publisher's Summary

Pete Earley had no idea. He'd been a journalist for over 30 years, and the author of several award-winning, even best-selling, nonfiction books about crime and punishment and society. Yet he'd always been on the outside looking in. He had no idea what it was like to be on the inside looking out until his son, Mike, was declared mentally ill, and Earley was thrown headlong into the maze of contradictions, disparities, and catch-22s that is America's mental health system.

The more Earley dug, the more he uncovered the bigger picture: our nation's prisons have become our new mental hospitals. Crazy tells two stories. The first is his son's. The second describes what Earley learned during a year-long investigation inside the Miami-Dade County jail, where he was given complete, unrestricted access. There, and in the surrounding community, he shadowed inmates and patients; interviewed correctional officers, public defenders, prosecutors, judges, mental-health professionals, and the police; talked with parents, siblings, and spouses; consulted historians, civil rights lawyers, and legislators.

The result is both a remarkable piece of investigative journalism, and a wake-up call; a portrait that could serve as a snapshot of any community in America.

©2006 Pete Earley; (P)2006 Tantor Media Inc

Critic Reviews

"Parents of the mentally ill should find solace and food for thought in its pages." (Publishers Weekly)
"Crazy is a godsend. It will open the minds of many who make choices for the mentally ill." (Patty Duke)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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  • Story

A great read for anyone with an ill loved one

Would you listen to Crazy again? Why?

Yes, the book gives so much great information on how our nation treats the mentally ill. Listening to this book made me so much more empathetic to my ow loved one with a mental illness. The author did a great job showing the frustration that America's mentally ill and their families face everyday.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The narrator is a bit dry at times. Although the subject is not really a fun one, I felt the narrator was a little too stern at times.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No. The book is more informational than human interest story.

  • Overall
  • Lynda
  • Cushing, OK, USA
  • 07-13-08

A Unique Perspective

I have known Pete Earley even before he married my college room-mate. I've followed his career from a by line Journalist in Tulsa Oklahoma to his now many books written not just from a Journalist's dry view, he is able to put a personal face to each of the people he has written about over the years.

I knew about Michael's problems at the time that they happened and how frightened his parents and family were for him. I am so glad that Pete followed his wife's suggestion and wrote about this terrible problem in mental health care. He has personalized it in a way that only a family member could.

In 2007 this book was one of three finalists for that year's Pulitzer. Although his book was not chosen, it was a wonderful honor that Pete well deserved.

4 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Insightful, Scary....also one-sided

From the very beginning the author admits that his point of view is skewed. His son has been diagnosed with a a mental illness and, in an attempt to help him navigate his disease, he sets out to examine the way our justice system handles the (my description - not his) "criminally insane". Although he describes horrific conditions, ridiculous laws, and inadequate treatment options it doesn't seem he offers anything in the way of solutions. What I took from this is, society should be more tolerant of incredibly dangerous and violent schizophrenics, and also be willing to provide them everything they need: food, shelter, intensive therapy and and endless combination of the latest drugs. Toward the end he seems disappointed communities fought having a ALF (assisted-living facility) literally filled with murderers in their neighborhoods. One resident killed an ENTIRE FAMILY! Despite that, I enjoyed the book and the narration was excellent.

0 of 6 people found this review helpful