In the Best of Families: The Anatomy of a True Tragedy

Dennis McDougal, Author Warner Books $21.95 (330p) ISBN 978-0-446-51672-3
Clearly Roy Miller, a California tax attorney whose clients include Ronald and Nancy Reagan, is a professional success. But his family life is quite another story. In the picture presented by McDougal, his wife was an obsessive nutritionist and a smothering mother. Their older son, Jeff, who majored in religion at college, became a religious fanatic and, hospitalized for schizophrenia, committed suicide. Then an even greater tragedy struck when the younger son, Michael, raped and murdered his mother in 1983. Michael had been treated for schizophrenia for several years and, after a number of sanity hearings, was tried and found guilty but insane. He has been institutionalized for 10 years and his prognosis is dismal. McDougal ( Angel of Darkness ) had to fight for access to the court records, which had been sealed at the request of both the prosecution and the defense, one suspects because of the prominent figures involved. This is a compelling tale of the destruction of a family by mental illness. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
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