The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird and His Daughter's Quest to Know Him

By Mimi Baird with Eve Claxton

A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2015


“Extraordinary… utterly impossible to put down.”
The New York Times

“One of the great father-daughter books of our time.”
—Pat Conroy

The Washington Post

Brad Pitt to adapt He Wanted the Moon: “[The] heartbreaking, enthralling story, compiled by Mimi from her memories… has been optioned for the big screen by Brad Pitt. Pitt said, ‘It’s a gorgeous story, and especially about mental illness.'”


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Photo of Mimi Baird as a child dressed as a cowgirl

It was the spring of 1994 when I returned from work to find the package containing my father’s manuscript on my door­step. I was fifty­-six years old and I’d been waiting for some word of him for most of my life.

I was a six­ year-­old child when he stopped coming home. My mother refused to say where he had gone,  except to tell me that  he was  “ill”  and  “away.” That same  year  of  1944, she filed for  a divorce and quickly remarried, closing the chapter of her life that included my father. I was never taken to visit him growing up; his name was rarely mentioned in our house. Since childhood, I had been informed in fleeting comments that he suffered from manic depression. I had seen him again only once, very briefly, before his death in 1959.

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