The Book

Broadstone Books of Frankfort, Kentucky is pleased to announce the April 2, 2013 publication of Brain in a Jar: A Daughter’s Journey Through Her Father’s Memory, by Nancy Stearns Bercaw.firstgo3a_braininajar-page-0081

In this unflinchingly honest memoir, Bercaw recounts her life with her father, Dr. Beauregard Lee Bercaw, or “Beau,” who became a neurologist in response to watching his own father deteriorate and die with Alzheimer’s.

For many years Beau kept an autopsied brain in a jar on the desk in his office as a constant reminder of the struggle that he waged against the disease first with his patients, and then ultimately for himself.

This is also the story of Nancy Bercaw’s own struggle to establish her identity and life and to navigate the treacherous and ever-changing emotional terrain of her relationship with her father, as she literally traveled the world in her quest to make sense of both of their lives.

In their foreword to the book, former Senator Bob Kerrey and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich describe Brain in a Jar as “an American-gothic tale of love, grief, genetics, obsession, adventure, fear and courage. The Bercaws might break your heart, but they’ll also remind you why Alzheimer’s disease must take center stage in politics, medicine and art.”

Broadstone publisher Larry W. Moore says, “I am immensely pleased and proud that Nancy Bercaw has selected Broadstone Books to publish her remarkable memoir.  It would be reasonable enough to read this book as a gripping account of one family dealing with a tragic disease that continues to ravage the lives of countless victims and their survivors alike.

“But to say that this is an important book on a crucial subject is to understate its merits.  For in a larger sense, this book is not about Alzheimer’s.  It is about an even more universal subject, family, and how this one family and this one daughter in particular managed to live in the deep shadow of Beau’s obsession, magnificent or not.

“Surprisingly, given these dark themes, this is often a very funny book, tragicomic in the manner of real life that fiction can never equal.  Beau is such a vivid, complex and often infuriating character that if you were to encounter him in a novel you might dismiss him as too unlikely to be real; while Nancy’s own travels and adventures can seem almost too much to have been crammed into a single, still very much ongoing life.

“We are blessed that such a gifted and engaging writer as Nancy Bercaw should have lived – or perhaps I should say, survived – such an incredible life, and that she has chosen to make her memoir her mission and to share it with us.  This is a rollicking roller-coaster of a read, and it ends in the best possible way, filled with life and hope.”

Broadstone Books is an imprint of Broadstone Media LLC, a cultural promotion company in Frankfort, Kentucky.  For more information visit our web site,