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Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption Paperback – August 28, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The prodigal son of Bill Moyers, the exemplary broadcast journalist, wrecked a bright career at CNN and deserted his family in 1994, hitting bottom as a "thirty-five-year-old crack addict." The lurid appeal of his story hinges largely on Moyers's munificent, even saintly father, and the train-wreck spectacle of his son's fall from grace. Moyers conveys with black humor the rapturous allure of substance abuse: "cocaine owned me, body and soul," he writes. It lures him back even after stints in rehab, brushes with death and lucky breaks. As his habit skids out of control, Moyers dodges punishment with smug hauteur. He enjoys plum reporting assignments as a fortunate son and plays the role of "solid, sincere recovering alcoholic," while persisting in his unrepentant behavior. Moyers hits his stride in evocations of his muddled, though quasi-methodical, mindset: the vertiginous pull of addiction, the powerful delusions of denial and the double-edged sword of legacy, which proves a potent enabler. His father, who addresses him in heartfelt letters excerpted at length, looms throughout as both reproving shadow and divine light. Photos. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"William Cope Moyers's lucid, measured tale of his own plunge into crack-addled hell [is] frightening in its very realism.
-USA Today

"A memoir of a terrible disease and one man's spiritual journey through it . . . that should be read by those who have friends or family members caught in addiction."
The Indianapolis Star

Product Details

  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (August 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143112457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143112457
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Alan Braun on October 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Broken is outstanding! I am an alum of Hazelden, sober 22 years, and have worked as an adolescent chemical dependency counselor. This book is the best description of addiction, treatment, relapse and recovery that I have come across. It is well written and well documented from the author's journals and correspondence from his father.

I currently work with five sober high schools in Minnesota for chemically dependent kids in recovery. I have purchased a copy for each of the schools. Last night I was at a parent meeting at one of the schools and recommended it to the parents. I was asked if it was for the parents or the students. It is for both. It could be a wonderful opportunity for students and families to open new avenues of communication and understanding.

The descriptions of the cravings, urges and triggers for relapse are graphic. My only concern is that they might be difficult for a newcomer with fragile sobriety. For all others, this book is a must read. It is particularly valuable for its depiction of spiritual growth and coming to terms with a higher power.

I have never before reviewed a book but the author's call to action made it necessary for me to do so.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Erik Olson VINE VOICE on December 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Addiction scares and fascinates me. My family's battle with alcoholism was so traumatic that I never touched booze until I was 36. This dysfunction made me want to understand how addiction strikes and recovery works, especially within a familial context. Indeed, it was a major reason I entered seminary and earned an MA in Family Ministry. After a cursory glance through "Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption," I knew I'd found a memoir on the subject that had meat. Finishing it only confirmed my initial impression. This is one of the most honest, well-written, and informative accounts of addiction and recovery that I've ever read.

William Cope Moyers had everything. A loving family, wealth, talent - you name it. But these advantages paled before his crippling Achilles' heel: himself. Whether it was the pressure to live up to his father's name, some childhood trauma, a nagging sense of insignificance, or a hole inside his soul, William was unable to "cope" with reality. He began using alcohol, moved on to cocaine, and finally forged a twisted love affair with crack. His binges cost him lucrative and prestigious jobs, destroyed his first marriage, and in the end almost killed him. After a number of relapses he finally hit bottom, got sober, and is now working to help other addicts.

At times, reading "Broken" was like watching a slow-motion train wreck. It was heartbreaking to see Mr. Moyers climb out of the gutter, get things "together," and then throw it all away on a crack binge. He left a lot of destruction in his wake, since it took many devastating falls before he forsook pride and dishonesty for sobriety.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Shelagh on October 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Thank you so much, William, for sharing your story. It takes enormous courage to ascend out of the nightmare of addiction, and further courage to tell that story! You do an immense service to the many millions who struggle with this disease, both as addicts and alcoholics themselves, but also for the many others who love them and want to do the right thing.

It was very interesting to hear something of how Hazelden works. I've been ordering books from them for years, and often wondered what their treatment program is like. You give a fascinating insight into that, as well as into your own mindset as you struggled with the program and recovery.

Thank you for sharing the hope and strength to be had from knowing treatment works and recovery does happen! And that the stigma that often stifles people's efforts to get help is sometimes even worse than the disease itself. You are a tremendous beacon in the darkness here. You have turned your liabilities into assets and married them to the wonderful gift of communication and writing that you already had. We are all beneficiaries.

The honesty and hope that your book offers is so needed in these dark times!


Shelagh Cosgrove, Columbus, Ohio
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was amazed once I started reading at how well this book reads. Even more amazed that it wasn't one of those books about someone who went into recovery and never relapsed. The pain of relapse is something Mr Moyer described perfectly. I share in Mr Moyers addiction and now I have been blessed with sharing his recovery. I have ordered from Hazelden for some time now, so when this book came out, it was a must add to my recovery library. Thank you William, for sharing your story in print so that so many struggling addicts can see that there is hope and the miracle is just around the corner. It works if you work it!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By L. Nelson on October 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I read this book and could not put it down. Mr Moyers will change the way of thinking for many as this disease has no limitations on the age in which this disease affects someone and all those around them. This book has insight and boundless wisdom for all generations involved. I would recommend all colleges make it madatory reading, and only wish somehow every adult knew it was available.
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