Head Cases

Stories of Brain Injury and Its Aftermath

Michael Paul Mason

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Head Cases takes us into the dark side of the brain in an astonishing sequence of stories, at once true and strange, from the world of brain damage. Michael Paul Mason is one of an elite group of experts who coordinate care in the complicated aftermath of tragic injuries that can last a lifetime. On the road with Mason, we encounter survivors of brain injuries as they struggle to map and make sense of the new worlds they inhabit.

Underlying each of these survivors’ stories is an exploration of the brain and its mysteries. When injured, the brain must figure out how to heal itself, reorganizing its physiology in order to do the job. Mason gives us a series of vivid glimpses into brain science, the last frontier of medicine, and we come away in awe of the miracles of the brain’s workings and astonished at the fragility of the brain and the sense of self, life, and order that resides there. Head Cases “[achieves] through sympathy and curiosity insight like that which pulses through genuine literature” (The New York Sun); it is at once illuminating and deeply affecting.

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Book Excerpts

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Introduction
The first thing I tell her is that I cannot help. Her son Jake is thirty-four, my age. His gray, bruise-flecked limbs are splayed out on a bed before me; his mouth is dry and agape. I know I cannot help him. I cannot file a lawsuit against the insurance company, I cannot conjure a way out of this dead-end nursing home, and I cannot sucker punch the aloof neurologist or throttle the ignorant psychiatrist. I hold no sway over the waiting list in my own hospital. I explain to her that I can do nothing at all, and she sighs. She is desperate to see Jake in a program where there is a

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Reviews

Praise for Head Cases

“Powerfully written . . . Head Cases sounds an alarm bell for our healthcare system.” —Oliver Sacks
 
“Mason deftly conveys the frustrations and inequities of traumatic brain injury . . . [He] performs a valuable service by calling attention to the plight of the brain injured . . . I had come to think of neurological dysfunction as an almost fanciful affliction, its victims like characters in a work of magical realism. Mason has provided a needed, and sobering, account of reality.” —Mary Roach, The New York Times Book Review
 
“One of my recent favorites . . . A sensitive and intelligent work.” —Jonah Lehrer, author of Proust Was a Neuroscientist
 
“Vivid, heartbreaking [and] movingly written.” —Irene Wanner, The Seattle Times
 
 

 
 

 
 


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About the Author

Michael Paul Mason

  MICHAEL MASON (born 1971) is a brain injury case manager based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Michael Paul Mason

©Michael Cooper
Michael Paul Mason

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Available Formats and Book Details

Head Cases
Stories of Brain Injury and Its Aftermath
Michael Paul Mason

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
April 2008
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429953740
ISBN10: 1429953748
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 320 pages, Includes an Appendix, Notes, Resources, and an Index
$9.99

Hardcover

Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
April 2008
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780374134525
ISBN10: 0374134529
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 320 pages, Includes an Appendix, Notes, Resources, and an Index
$25.00

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Farrar, Straus and Giroux Paperbacks
April 2009
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780374531959
ISBN10: 0374531951
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 320 pages, Includes an Appendix, Notes, Resources, and an Index
$16.00
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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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