Bertrand Russell: v.2: 1921-70 The Ghost of Madness Ray Monk
This magnificent biography completes the most searching examination yet published of Bertrand Russell's life and work. Whereas Ray Monk's first volume focused on Russell's colossal achievements in philosophy and his often tortured relations with friends and lovers, this volume has at its centre the tragic and deeply moving story of Russell's relationship with his first son, John. Following the lead set by Russell in his Autobiography, previous biographies have concentrated in the second half of his life on his public activities - his founding of a school, his political campaigning for peace and so on. All this is covered in abundant detail in this book, but what distinguishes it is the illumination it throws on the most important relationship in Russell's life, the one in which he invested the most time and emotional energy and one that has, until now, remained largely untold. This book traces that story, from Russell's ecstasy at John's birth to his frightened dismay at John's collapse into madness, showing the fervour of his hopes for education and parenthood in producing the 'independent, fearless and free' generation of which he expected to John to provide an example and the corresponding depth of his disappointment and despair when John turned out to be schizophrenic and the reform of society a good deal more difficult than he had imagined.