An award-winning journalist’s breathtaking mosaic of the tough-love industry and the young adults it inevitably fails.

In the middle of the night, they are vanished.

Each year thousands of young adults deemed out of control—suffering from depression, addiction, anxiety, and rage—are carted off against their will to remote wilderness programs and treatment facilities across the country. Desperate parents of these “troubled teens” fear it’s their only option. The private, largely unregulated behavioral boot camps break their children down, a damnation the children suffer forever.

New York Times journalist Kenneth R. Rosen knows firsthand the brutal emotional, physical, and sexual abuse carried out at these programs. He lived it. In Troubled, Rosen shares more than his experience of lockdown and its aftermath as he unspools the stories of four graduates on their own scarred, faulted journey through the programs into adulthood.

 

Based on three years of reporting and more than one hundred interviews with other clients, their parents, psychologists, and health-care professionals, Troubled combines harrowing storytelling with investigative journalism to expose the disturbing truth about the massively profitable, sometimes fatal, grossly unchecked redirection industry.

Not without hope, Troubled ultimately delivers an emotional, crucial tapestry of coming of age, neglect, exploit, trauma, and fraught redemption.

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JANUARY 12, 2021