Excerpt from A Fractured Mind by Robert B. Oxnam, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

A Fractured Mind

My Life with Multiple Personality Disorder

By Robert B. Oxnam

A Fractured Mind
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Oct 2005,
    304 pages.
    Paperback: Oct 2006,
    304 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Incidentally, my penchant for short-term memorization worked less well in the Chinese language: I could pass the examinations with ease, but I could not keep the vocabulary, especially the devilish written characters, in my head long enough to build a solid linguistic foundation. In good automaton tradition, I went from the first few words of Chinese-language study in the fall of 1964 to a doctorate in Qing dynasty history in the spring of 1969 (something of a speed record in a difficult field). My mentor was the brilliant Professor Jonathan Spence, who painstakingly guided me through a doctoral dissertation — Policies and Factionalism in the Oboi Regency, 1661 1669 — demanding two years of research, all in classical documentary Chinese.

The rigors of scholarship never suited me at all. I enjoyed learning about Asian history and culture, but I never felt at home doing fastidious library research. Spence could make ancient Chinese records come alive with magical stories, but for me, it was more like dissecting old Yellow Pages. I just turned on my inner machine, conducted disembodied research, wore out Chinese-language sources and dictionaries, and spit out a doctoral thesis.

So why spend so many years pursuing something not in my heart? The honest answer is that I had to get that doctorate. I couldn't wait to receive the deep blue doctoral robe and hood that signified "Dr. Robert Oxnam." Like the Chinese scholar-officials who wore emblems to signify their status, I sought to project the image of "success" in every sense of the word.

For the next two decades, I sought to reap the rewards of all this academic preparation, to live the dream of success. But like the famous twin masks of Greek drama, one face radiated smiling confidence, but the other face, generally hidden from view, was contorted with rising pain.

Excerpted from A FRACTURED MIND by Robert B. Oxnam. Copyright 2005 Robert B. Oxnam. All rights reserved. Published by Hyperion.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...
  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.