Young sailor and aspiring Olympic competitor Kevin A. Hall’s biggest dream was to raise a family. But within the space of three years, he was diagnosed with both testicular cancer and bipolar disorder, putting his family and Olympic dreams on hold. He soon found that surviving cancer was the easy part.
At the age of twenty, Hall began experiencing the exhilarating highs and terrifying lows of bipolar disorder—along with delusions that could make his reality seem like a waking nightmare. And in what could have been a final blow, after four years of struggling to provide love and support, his soul mate chose self-preservation and walked away.
Now a renowned Olympic and America’s Cup sailor with a wonderful wife and family, Hall shares a behind-the-scenes look at his struggles with mental illness in the riveting memoir Black Sails White Rabbits. In the face of crushing ups and downs, hospitalizations, and family drama, Hall has learned to weather the ever-changing tide of health struggles and personal woes, achieving success despite seemingly impossible odds.
A courageous look at a life filled with overwhelming challenges, this frank and fierce memoir also contains a surprising love story at its core, a tribute to the woman by his side.
“This is a compelling and extraordinary book about a life of extremes. Of mental pain and sporting triumph, of acute despair and a determination to achieve what others take for granted: a settled family life with a wife and children who love him. It’s a jagged ride, funny, romantic and agonizing. Black Sails White Rabbits is essential for what it says about mental illness and how crudely we still treat it. And like all the best art, it’s honesty is cathartic.”
– Philip Delves Broughton, New York Times Bestselling author of Ahead of the Curve:Two Years at Harvard Business School and The Art of the Sale
“A devastatingly honest account of being bipolar, told with amazing insight, great feeling and unbelievable humor.”
– Kendall Hailey, author of The Day I Became An Autodidact
“Kevin Hall has an extraordinary life and his book leads us through it in a bracingly honest and intimate way. Moving, sad and humorous, Black Sails White Rabbits should be required reading for all mental health professionals but will be enjoyed by anyone interested in human struggle and perseverance; the book tackles questions of identity that confront us all.”
– Joel Gold, M.D. author of Suspicious Minds: How Culture Shapes Madness
Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry NYU School of Medicine
“This is simply the best book about competitive sailing I have ever read.”
– Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea and Why Read Moby-Dick