In All Things: A Return to the Drooling Ward

Ed Davis (Author)


" . . . powerful; beautifully written, well-observed and effective."
--Kirkus Review

In 1970, a seventeen-year-old trainee enters the psychiatric technician training program at Sonoma State Hospital. Having volunteered there as a high school student, he feels fairly well prepared and presumes that conditions like those in Jack London's 1914 short story about the place, "Told in the Drooling Ward" are a thing of the past. He soon discovers that what really happens behind the closed doors of the institution has not changed much since London's time, certainly not for the better.

Taught the "necessary" skill of how to choke out a patient on his first day, and told with a shrug that sometimes when patients run away to the nearby hills, they're never found, the young trainee is thrust into a world of austere realities that most adults would balk at entering.

Based on author Ed Davis's real-life experiences, In All Things is an honest reflection of a pivotal time in his life, as well as a compelling social commentary on how mental institutions were run in the 1970s. Told as a fictionalized, first-person narrative and expressed with stirring compassion, his story is an open door into a dark part of our history that will stay with you long after you read the last page.

Product Details

Wedgewood Press
Publish Date
August 01, 2014
5.25 X 0.18 X 8.0 inches | 0.22 pounds
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About the Author

Sonoma Valley writer Ed Davis lives a short distance from Jack London's famous Beauty Ranch and from the sprawling institution that is the setting for his latest story. During the summer of 1970, when he was just seventeen, Davis enrolled in the psychiatric technician training program at Sonoma State Hospital in Eldridge, California. Now, over forty years after completing his training, Davis has penned a fictionalized account of his experiences. In All Things offers a candid perspective on the way things used to be inside the wards and behind the closed doors of US mental institutions.

Davis is also the author of Road Stories, a collection of travel essays, and he is currently putting the finishing touches on The Last Professional, a semi-autobiographical hobo novel, which will be available by the end of 2015.