Byliner Publishes Simon Winchester’s THE MAN WITH THE ELECTRIFIED BRAIN: ADVENTURES IN MADNESS
For the first time, the bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman
tells the story of how he nearly lost his mind—and his life
August 6, 2013—San Francisco—Today Byliner publishes The Man with the Electrified Brain: Adventures in Madness ($1.99), a shockingly frank new memoir by Simon Winchester, bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman, which reveals for the first time how he nearly lost his mind.
Simon Winchester has never shied away from big, even enormous, topics—as evidenced by his bestselling biography of the Atlantic Ocean, his account of the Krakatoa volcanic eruption, and his wildly popular The Professor and the Madman, about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary. In his Byliner Original The Man with the Electrified Brain, Winchester takes on arguably his most daunting subject yet: his own flirtation with madness, and thus one of nature’s greatest and most enduring mysteries, the human brain.
As a geology student in his second year at Oxford, Winchester was known as a young man of even temper and keen intellect, until one June morning when he woke to find himself “changed with dreadful suddenness into another being altogether,” his normal life “slumped into a chasm” and “folded in the dirt.” For a period of nine days, he lived in immobilizing fear. Everyday items—familiar paintings, a pile of books, his own robe hanging from a hook—became objects of horror; the world lost color, purpose, all sense and safety. When the episode finally passed, he returned to normal, presuming that what had happened to him was a fluke. It wasn’t. The episode repeated itself at unpredictable and dangerous intervals for four years—always lasting for nine days—and very nearly caused the author’s death while he was on an expedition in the Arctic.
What was wrong with him? Where could he find help? Would he spend the rest of his life anticipating the return of these mental blackouts? With the urgency of a whodunit, Winchester describes the coming and going of these terrifying dissociative states and the chance encounter that led to the controversial treatment of electroconvulsive therapy, which may or may not have cured him once and for all.
Written by a consummate storyteller, The Man with the Electrified Brain locates that finest of lines between sanity and insanity and may be Winchester’s most riveting and deeply personal work yet.
About the Author: Simon Winchester, a former foreign correspondent for The Guardian and the London Sunday Times, has written twenty-five books of nonfiction, many of which have been international bestsellers, among them The Professor and the Madman, Krakatoa, The Map that Changed the World, The Man Who Loved China, and Atlantic. The Men Who United the States is to be published in October. Simon Winchester was sworn in as an American citizen on the afterdeck of the USS Constitution on Independence Day 2011, though he retains the OBE awarded him by HM the Queen “for services to literature” in 2006. He lives in the Berkshires, in western Massachusetts.
About Byliner: Byliner works directly with the world’s best writers to deliver great stories to readers. Named “one of the 10 Most Innovative Media Companies in the World” (Fast Company), Byliner is a subscription reading service and digital publisher of award-winning short fiction and nonfiction. A Byliner subscription provides unlimited access to more than 30,000 stories by hundreds of bestselling authors, as well as personalized story suggestions based on your reading time and interests. The entire library of Byliner Originals—including bestselling e-books by Amy Tan, Nick Hornby, Margaret Atwood, Jon Krakauer, Ann Patchett, Nicole Krauss, Alexandra Fuller, Richard Russo, and Sebastian Junger—is available in the subscription service and through the major digital bookstores.
The Man with the Electrified Brain is available for $1.99 as a Kindle Single at Amazon, a Quick Read at Apple’s iBookstore, a Nook Snap at BarnesAndNoble.com, and a Short Read at Kobo. The story is free to Byliner subscribers at Byliner.com. For an Advance Reading Copy or to schedule an interview with Simon Winchester, please contact Clare Hertel at firstname.lastname@example.org, 505-474-6783.