The Geography of Madness


Available from Melville House, Powell’s, Indiebound or Amazon. (Better yet, get it at your local book store!)  For news subscribe here.

“With The Geography of Madness, Frank Bures has created a literary, thoughtful study that explores the connections between culture and psychology, storytelling and health.  It’s also, to my knowledge, the most pleasant and least painful way to learn about penis theft.”

—Peter Hessler, author of Oracle Bones and Strange Stones

“Frank Bures has some of the widest (and wildest) curiosities of any writer out there. This is a man who truly wants to know the world, in all its strange and beautiful variations. He is fearless in his reporting, generous in his spirit, and brilliant in his prose. I would follow him anywhere.”

—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love  and The Signature of All Things

“Penis theft. Vampires. Black magic. These are not exactly prime ingredients for a hilarious, empathetic travel book, but Frank Bures has pulled off something incredible in The Geography of Madness. In demonstrating how culture-bound concepts of ‘madness’ and ‘sickness’ really are, he reminds us what we human beings have in common, which is to say, we’re all beautifully, fascinatingly nuts.”

—Tom Bissell, author of Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter and Apostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve

“Frank Bures has a brave, hungry mind and a heavily inked passport that have taken him to the far reaches of the world and human behavior. You’ll be glad to join him on his quest in The Geography of Madness, a book that reads like a magical treasure map. The chapters take us through the quirky, the wondrous, the horrifying, but ultimately leave us with a better understanding of ourselves. Bures writes as some combination of investigative journalist, cultural anthropologist, daredevil, and empath.”

—Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon and The Dead Lands

“In a world coming unstitched, Frank Bures travels the globe gathering threads, weaving the odd and the otherworldly into something whole. I would follow Bures to the far corners of the earth for his stories—finally, in The Geography of Madness, I can.”

—Michael Perry, author of Population: 485—Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time and The Jesus Cow

“With the drive of an investigative reporter, a researcher’s patience and a poet’s gift for words, Frank Bures teases out the logic and sanity behind madness.  In going into the histories and psychologies of some of the world’s strangest maladies, he shows us that it takes a village to make a penis disappear.

—Mukoma Wa Ngugi, author of Black Star Nairobi

“By turns harrowing and hilarious, Bures’s global journey explores the deep complexities of how culture influences the way we see the world.”

—Rolf Potts, author of Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel

“Frank Bures has written a potent, unique narrative about how culture and our own thinking can do very strange things to us. This enjoyable and informative book takes us to places some truly bizarre places — both in the world and in our minds.”

—David Farley, author of An Irreverent Curiosity


 The AtlanticNew Scientist, KERA/NPR, The GuardianThe Australian, Toronto Globe and MailMaclean’s MagazineMinneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota Public RadioMilwaukee Public Radio, Religion DispatchesThe IsthmusMelville House, MinnPost, Longitude Books, Think Piece Publishing, Southside Pride,




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