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A Fractured Mind

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,048 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
The harrowing, insightful, and courageous account of a prominent man's struggle with multiple personalities

Robert Oxnam was a high-profile, successful man: A renowned scholar and president of the Asia Society, he appeared frequently on television and traveled the world as a sought-after expert. But what the millions of people who'd seen him didn't know -- what even those c

Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 10th 2006 by Hyperion (first published October 1st 2005)
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Jun 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read most of this book yesterday while soaking in my warm-water pool...(or/and lying in the sun).
Being relaxed allowed for mental and physical harmony --all of which was necessary --for taking in the depths of this story.

This is a valuable book worth reading. 'This' author happens to be a highly educated man --(Yale University in Asian studies). Not all people with multiple personality disorder (MPD),are as highly functional in the world --(academic world, business, financial, travel, etc.) as
Hannah Greendale
A fascinating look at the life of a man diagnosed with multiple personality disorder (aka dissociative identity disorder). The reader is introduced to the man's eleven personalities and made privy to the years he spent working with a psychiatrist to unearth and then integrate his various personalities.
Dec 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
My Amazon review: Books on multiple personality disorder are not, as a rule, very well written and A Fractured Mind is no exception to this. It is unfortunate, however, that where those other books made up for literary lapses by being incredibly emotional, open, and intriguing, A Fractured Mind falls more than short.

Robert Oxnam's story is, indeed, a sad one. I do not wish to blame the victim - it is clear Mr. Oxnam has gone through quite a bit in his life that nobody should have to deal with. U
Dec 01, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, mpd-did
20151015 ◊ Take an astonishing mental disorder. Add one entitled, unsympathetic protagonist. Mix in a generous amount of unsatisfactory storytelling. Sprinkle in a healthy dose of humblebragging. Drop a name in. Drop some more names in. Tell everyone that you don't mean to drop names while you dump a few more right in. Limply swish everything back and forth for awhile. Pour everything into a negligently edited plot. Garnish with a wildly corny, overblown voice actor, and what do you get?

A bad b
Robert Vaughan
I had to read this book in chunks, sometimes excessive, and sometimes small. There is a ton to process here, and the MPD issues are very tough to handle at times. And yet, I am grateful for this author's bravery, especially with his professional relationships, and how well- established he is in is private life. I am also grateful personally for all of the therapy I've done in my own life, and what I've learned as a result. I don't think this is a book for everyone, but I am happy that a very clo ...more
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't enjoy this book. Its a boring story told by mostly unsympathetic characters. When a person is this ill its hard to NOT be sympathetic, but somehow he manages. I'm not surprised he had 11 individual personalities- because that's how many people it should take to carry around the weight of his extraordinary ego.
Desinta Laras
Apr 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually I was mind-blowed at beginning for I never experience the same things as Mr. Oxnam had. This book is one of my favorite non-fiction books. You know what its best part is? It tells us even a person who suffers from a multiple personality disorder (today Oxnam lives with three personalities inside him) could be as succeed and as/more inspirational than us, normal people.

So :) dear readers. Here's the plot.

Robert Oxnam was a high-profile, successful man: A renowned scholar and president of
Meg Tuite
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mesmerizing! The beginning is a bit slow, but the memoir is of a man who is outwardly very successful and not until he is in his '50s finds out that he is a multiple personality. Thus, the slow beginning before he realizes the black-outs are not just from alcohol. He gets into therapy and the 11 different personalities make themselves known. It is riveting and heartbreaking and told on a linear path so the reader moves through it with the author and his therapist! I am blown away by how the mind ...more
Feb 28, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really great autobiography. It was interesting to read from his various alters point-of-view. It gave so much info about the disorder. Had to read it for a class...but would suggest it to anyone interested in MPD (DID).
Dixie Eggers
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very in! Loved it! Put MPD into layman's terms that are easily understood.

I loved the book. Well written. It explODE in layman's terms that was easily understood. Very nice work. Impressed with his strength and courage.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting for a psychologist to read, and for all trauma victims how dissociate.
Denise Connolly Connolly
This is in my top 10 favorite books of all time, absolutely fantastic and enlightening. I found this real life story of Robert's life fascinating, poignant and mind blowing (pun intended!). How he even approached this subject is amazing, to write it in such a way that even someone without MPD/DID could understand it and told by the various personalities themselves and in conjunction and agreement with each other. How he found out he had MPD and then with the help of his psychiatrist to work thou ...more
Apr 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Category: Books
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Author: Robert B Oxnam

Kisah nyata seorang profesor yang memiliki 11 kepribadian.

Tommy, seorang anak laki-laki penakut dan pemarah, yang percaya bahwa ia tinggal di istana; Bobby, seorang rollerblader yang kelakarnya selalu menarik perhatian orang; Wanda, perempuan separo baya yang ketenangan dan kebijaksanaannya mendorong orang untuk berfokus ....

Tommy, Bobby, dan Wanda hanyalah tiga dari sebelas kepribadian Robert Oxnam, seorang sarjana terkenal
Amanda Laucks
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Fractured Mind Book Review
By Amanda Laucks

A Fractured Mind is an auto-biography about Robert Oxnam who tells his story about his MPD disorder. MPD stands for Multiple Personality Disorder which is when your mind is split into different personalities, typically caused by a traumatic experience. He goes in depth about what it was like living a personal and professional life dealing with this disease. The story starts off with him telling about how he was depressed and was an alcoholic. He goes t
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
In “A Fractured Mind”, Robert B. Oxnam chronicles his real-life experience with Multiple Personality Disorder. In stark contrast to many MPD sufferers, Oxnam has a very successful professional life, especially as an Asia specialist and speaker. Throughout his adult years Oxnam suffers greatly from blackouts and alcoholism causing him to seek professional help from Dr. Jeffrey Smith, a well-known psychiatrist. It’s during treatment that the discovery is made that Oxnam’s alcoholism and black-outs ...more
Wow, this book is an affirmation that no matter what personal or medical problems you may have in your life, your state of being is so much better than if you have a notable mental illness. Seriously this guy is fruit loops. I respect that he embraces his mental illness and can live with it. But wow, it is something!

He tells his story through the persona's of his different personalities. One is even a witch. He is essentially many different people, where as most of us just recognize the many rol
Oct 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brian by: Shandra Pizzo
A friend of mine who is a nurse recommended this to me. At first I wasn't too sure, but at a bookstore, I found it and thumbed through it which did peaked my interest. So, I bought it. After a few months on my bookshelf, I decided to give it a try.

Robert Oxman is a successful person who is an expert on Asia. What made him seek a psychiatrist was his problem with alcohol, (he's also bulimic). During one session Tommy made an appearance.

This memoir is about how Robert went from 11 distinguished pe
Kainé Jaye
Feb 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Multiple Personality Disorder is just one of those things I happened to come across over the internet, and took a sudden interest in, due to my studies on mental health. So after visiting the library at my college campus, I found the book that would take me inside the mind of someone who has MPD. A Fractured Mind is a fascinating read for those interested in the topic. Perhaps the closest insight we will ever truly have unless we of course have the illness ourselves. Robert B. Oxnam is an inspir ...more
Sep 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is by no means the best book ever written by an author who has/does suffer from a mental illness, but it's still worth reading in my opinion.

It may have been easier for me to read than others, as I was fortunate enough to meet the author years ago at a lecture put together by a professor I TA'd for in college, and his writing style made more sense having met him and having heard his story first hand.

I consider this book to be a very interesting look at the life of someone with DID, and if y
Dyah Woro Dwi Lestari
walaupun buat saya, gangguan kepribadian disosiasi merupakan topik yang "misterius" tetapi membaca kisah pak oxnam ini membuat saya bersimpati terhadapnya. Kehidupannya yang tidak "utuh" karena diselingi oleh fase lupa, yaitu ketika kepribadian alternya muncul membuatnya menjadi individu yang unik. Walaupun akhirnya beberapa dari mereka bisa melebur, menyatu menjadi satu, tetapi ada yang tetap berdiri menjadi kepribadian sendiri. Saya terbawa kisahnya dan merasa "creepy" ketika membaca alter yan ...more
Jason D'Souza
Traveled from California to the northeast coast of the Atlantic in New Brunswick studying for my masters degree, I was eating Chipotle while listening to the audio-book on the auto-biograhy Robert Oxnam, President Emeritus of the Asia Society who worked successfully with President Bush, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates despite being diagnosed with Disassociate Identity Disorder (aka MPD) and had 11 alternative personalities that included a witch, dark castles, repressed dark memories and sexual abus ...more
Apr 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's amazing what a human mind is capable of to protect itself to survive through severe trauma, and to cope with live's pressures. I find this book an interesting introduction to the world of someone living with MPD. Even though there are other books out there written by MPD patients, i was originaly fascinated by all the accomplishments of Oxnam the 'Asian Expert'. It's about the private battles of someone who enjoyed public successes. The end of the book includes notes by the psychiatrist so ...more
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book really opened me up to the life of someone who is dealing with MPD, now commonly known as Dissociative Identity Disorder. I really didn't know a lot about the disorder before this book, and it was very eye-opening, as I think it would be for anyone who read this. After reading a few pages of the book, sometimes I would literally say, "Wow." I didn't even realize that the human mind could be so powerful as to completely turn into another person without being able to remember it. It is t ...more
Aug 14, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a very interesting look into Multiple Personality Disorders. Robert Oxnam, the author, has had many sucessful dealings with the Asain Society and President Bush(Sr).
The author found out in therapy that he had eleven different personalities but he was able to get them under control and down to a managable three personalities who work well with one another after several years of hard work. For anyone that does not understand MPD this is a book for them to read. It sheds some insight into t
Sep 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing story. This is such a difficult disorder with which to live(dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder).I can not imagine going through this. Robert Oxnard narrates his struggle to discover what is happening to him and his subsequent therapy. He delves into conversations with his alters(alternative personalities) as he learns secrets about his past and finds ways to integrate every personality into his own self.
Colleen Anderson
Jul 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recommend it. It's a firsthand account of what it's like to discover and attempt to integrate multiple personalities (with a good psychiatrist's help). I have found it fascinating, and appreciate the author's suggestion that "multiple personality" may be the extreme along a spectrum, and that many or all so-called "normal" humans contend with competing "personalities," depending upon their surroundings and companions.
I am honesty shocked that Oxnam did not break his arm from patting himself on the back so much. The name-dropping and arrogant ego inflation is likely part of his pathology, but it is borderline unbearable. When he does, however, actually get into the MPD, there seems to be an amazing and compelling story about a child who used extraordinary creativity to survive severe abuse. But this book is far from compelling and left me feeling incredibly detached, if not contemptuous, towards the author.
Hillary Westover
Across the lake, the Castle rested quietly on the hill, a reminder of a past that no longer enchained us. Somewhere above our heads, the great Mountain reached a summit, a long climb that no longer obsessed us. We were no longer eleven, but neither were we one. We were three and we were learning to like who we were, separately and together.

Oxnam, Robert B. (2013-02-05). A Fractured Mind: My Life with Multiple Personality Disorder (p. 257). Hachette Books. Kindle Edition.
Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs, psychology
Oxnam, a well-known Asia expert and author has the guts to write the story of his struggle with Multiple Personality Disorder--WOW!! I applaud that!
Different sections of the book are written in the voices of the different alters and that is very effective. The book covers several years of therapy and has an epilogue by his therapist. I couldn't put this book down--stayed up til 2am to read it.
An fascinating story by an honest, brave man.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Magic Daughter: A Memoir of Living with Multiple Personality Disorder
  • Amongst Ourselves: A Self-Help Guide to Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • The Flock: The Autobiography of a Multiple Personality
  • First Person Plural: My Life as a Multiple
  • The Magic Castle: A Mother's Harrowing True Story Of Her Adoptive Son's Multiple Personalities-- And The Triumph Of Healing
  • Suffer the Child
  • The C.I.A. Doctors: Human Rights Violations by American Psychiatrists
  • All of Me
  • The Sum of My Parts: A Survivor's Story of Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • Twenty-Two Faces
  • Fractured
  • The Stranger in the Mirror: Dissociation--the Hidden Epidemic
  • The Dissociative Identity Disorder Sourcebook
  • Broken Child
  • Hannah: My True Story of Drugs, Cutting, and Mental Illness
  • The Three Faces Of Eve
  • Breaking Free: My Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • Switching Time: A Doctor's Harrowing Story of Treating a Woman with 17 Personalities
“I resolved to come right to the point. "Hello," I said as coldly as possible, "we've got to talk."

"Yes, Bob," he said quietly, "what's on your mind?" I shut my eyes for a moment, letting the raging frustration well up inside, then stared angrily at the psychiatrist.
"Look, I've been religious about this recovery business. I go to AA meetings daily and to your sessions twice a week. I know it's good that I've stopped drinking. But every other aspect of my life feels the same as it did before. No, it's worse. I hate my life. I hate myself."

Suddenly I felt a slight warmth in my face, blinked my eyes a bit, and then stared at him.

"Bob, I'm afraid our time's up," Smith said in a matter-of-fact style.

"Time's up?" I exclaimed. "I just got here."

"No." He shook his head, glancing at his clock. "It's been fifty minutes. You don't remember anything?"

"I remember everything. I was just telling you that these sessions don't seem to be working for me."

Smith paused to choose his words very carefully. "Do you know a very angry boy named 'Tommy'?"

"No," I said in bewilderment, "except for my cousin Tommy whom I haven't seen in twenty years..."

"No." He stopped me short. "This Tommy's not your cousin. I spent this last fifty minutes talking with another Tommy. He's full of anger. And he's inside of you."

"You're kidding?"

"No, I'm not. Look. I want to take a little time to think over what happened today. And don't worry about this. I'll set up an emergency session with you tomorrow. We'll deal with it then."


This is Robert speaking. Today I'm the only personality who is strongly visible inside and outside. My own term for such an MPD role is dominant personality. Fifteen years ago, I rarely appeared on the outside, though I had considerable influence on the inside; back then, I was what one might call a "recessive personality." My passage from "recessive" to "dominant" is a key part of our story; be patient, you'll learn lots more about me later on. Indeed, since you will meet all eleven personalities who once roamed about, it gets a bit complex in the first half of this book; but don't worry, you don't have to remember them all, and it gets sorted out in the last half of the book. You may be wondering -- if not "Robert," who, then, was the dominant MPD personality back in the 1980s and earlier? His name was "Bob," and his dominance amounted to a long reign, from the early 1960s to the early 1990s. Since "Robert B. Oxnam" was born in 1942, you can see that "Bob" was in command from early to middle adulthood.

Although he was the dominant MPD personality for thirty years, Bob did not have a clue that he was afflicted by multiple personality disorder until 1990, the very last year of his dominance. That was the fateful moment when Bob first heard that he had an "angry boy named Tommy" inside of him. How, you might ask, can someone have MPD for half a lifetime without knowing it? And even if he didn't know it, didn't others around him spot it?

To outsiders, this is one of the most perplexing aspects of MPD. Multiple personality is an extreme disorder, and yet it can go undetected for decades, by the patient, by family and close friends, even by trained therapists. Part of the explanation is the very nature of the disorder itself: MPD thrives on secrecy because the dissociative individual is repressing a terrible inner secret. The MPD individual becomes so skilled in hiding from himself that he becomes a specialist, often unknowingly, in hiding from others. Part of the explanation is rooted in outside observers: MPD often manifests itself in other behaviors, frequently addiction and emotional outbursts, which are wrongly seen as the "real problem."

The fact of the matter is that Bob did not see himself as the dominant personality inside Robert B. Oxnam. Instead, he saw himself as a whole person. In his mind, Bob was merely a nickname for Bob Oxnam, Robert Oxnam, Dr. Robert B. Oxnam, PhD.”
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