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Hammerhead 84

Hammerhead 84

A Memoir of Persistence

On his last day of high school Brett Hartman commits what at first seems like a harmless prank but later turns into the defining moment of his adolescence. Wracked with guilt and pressure from the legal system, his reality unravels into psychosis. Thus begins a twisted maze of forced hospitalizations, instant drugging and violation of patient consent. With unwavering intensity, Hartman chronicles his descent into madness and his struggle to recover while being bombarded by mind-numbing drugs.

Returning to college, he's compelled to exact a kind of mental revenge by becoming a psychologist. It is during this quest that he learns about the inner workings of psychiatric treatment from the other side and how damaging such treatment can be for patients.

Told with humor and bluntness, Hartman takes us on a wild romp through psychiatric hell and back, exposing the lunacy along the way and pushing for a more balanced approach to patient care. Hammerhead 84 is both a scorching cultural indictment and an unforgettable triumph of the human soul.

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"Imagine Holden Caulfield in a psychiatric hospital, and you'll get some idea of the flavor of Brett Hartman's riveting story of his schizophrenic breakdown as a teenager and his ensuing struggle against the drug-induced stupor that passed for treatment. This is a book that's hard to put down, and it's filled with lessons about medical hubris."
   —Marcia Angell, M.D., The Truth about the Drug Companies

"Hartman has written an excellent book. He tackles the hard subject of his psychotic breakdown with the mastery of someone who has learned his lessons well."
   —James Frey, A Million Little Pieces

"Hammerhead 84 is both a deeply inspiring book and a joy to read. Brett Hartman provides readers with a remarkably lucid—and at times, very funny—account of his descent into psychosis. His journey to recovery—often in spite of the drugs and other forms of 'care' he received—serves as a testament to the healing powers that may be found within a person. He tells his story with grace and wit, and readers will root for him every step of the way."
   —Robert Whitaker, Mad in America

"...this is a brave book...powerful...one man's quietly determined refusal to forsake his humanity. Hartman's telling is fresh, searching, honest and—always—humane... For anyone trying to understand wrestling with demons, his memoir is worthwhile indeed."
   —The Philadelphia Inquirer

"...a powerful critique of the mental health system..."
   —Library Journal

Graphite Press, Hardcover, June 2005, ISBN: 9780975581001