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Paperback Book Details
  • 08/2014
  • 9780986069727 0986069728
  • 86 pages
  • $6.95
Ed Davis
In All Things: A Return to the Drooling Ward
Ed Davis, author
Walk the wards with a seventeen-year-old trainee as the secrets of a notorious State Home are revealed to him. He meets the discarded, the forgotten; the misunderstood and misused patients—and is forever changed by the encounter.
Kirkus Review - October 9th, 2014

" . . . powerful; beautifully written, well-observed and effective."

For full review, click here.


Sonoma Index Tribune

Sonoma Index Tribune – September 16, 2014

Sylvia Crawford

Ed Davis: In All Things Next up is the newest offering from Ed Davis. 

On Aug. 1, Ed released his second book, a novella, "In All Things, A Return to the Drooling Ward."

The book is a fictionalized account of Ed's experience as a 17-yearold psych tech in training at Sonoma Developmental Center. As for "the drooling ward" epithet, the phrase is not Ed's; that was the title of Jack London's famous 1914 short story of the Sonoma State Hospital, inthose days often referred to as the Home for the Feeble Minded.

Most of us would assume that London's description of the horrors of "The Home," would no longer apply in the 1970s. But the narrator soon discovers that what really happens behind the closed doors of the institution has not changed much since London's time, certainly not for the better. And therein lies a heartbreaking story that is so beautifully and succinctly told that it reads like a prose poem.

Even though I've lived in Glen Ellen since 1975, and have many close friends who have worked at the Developmental Center, this book is revealing in ways I can't quite imagine. Ed emphasizes that this is his story, others have their own. However, even I had heard of some of Ed's "patients" from my friends. Michelle, for instance, a hydrocephalic girl. Yet, I had never heard her described in quite the loving, gentle and human way that Ed shares.

Nor could I quite imagine the terrors of life that his "patient" Gerald experienced on a daily basis. Ed makes these people real and human. The tears I shed while reading Ed's book are a testament to the beauty and power of his writing.

In his introduction, Ed emphasizes change. "This brief tale takes you inside a place that no longer exists," he writes. "It was beginning to change dramatically and for the better even as I left it in 1972. That's a good thing." Indeed it is.

I highly recommend this fast-moving, heart-rending tale that ends with a magical and upbeat fantasy.

Ed Davis' "In All Things," is available on Amazon, as is his popular first book, "Road Stories." We hope that Readers Books in Sonoma might stock a fair number of "In All Things." I guarantee that word will get around; this book is a compelling read. In fact, a book discussion, with past and current employees of that institution, would be enlightening. But, it's more likely that those who read it will want to talk it over with friends and family, not sharing their thoughts publically. I applaud Ed for being so forthright.

Coverage in The Kenwood Press

Glen Ellen's Ed Davis pens novella

Ed Davis of Glen Ellen has written a new novella, In All Things, a fictionalized account of his training year as a psychiatric technician at Sonoma State Hospital in 1970. Davis, whose day job is serving as president of ceiling tile manufacturer Empire West, said that, “People have a healthy curiosity about what goes on behind the closed doors of our institutions. That's where this story takes you.”

The storyline: in 1970, a 17-year-old trainee enters the psychiatric technician training program at Sonoma State Hospital. Having volunteered there as a high school student, he feels fairly well prepared and presumes that conditions like those in Jack London's 1914 short story about the place, Told in the Drooling Ward, are a thing of the past. He soon discovers that what really happens behind the closed doors of the institution has not changed much since London's time, certainly not for the better.

Based on his real-life experiences, Davis said In All Things is an honest reflection of a pivotal time in his life, as well as a social commentary on how mental institutions were run in the 1970s. 

Davis is also the author of Road Stories, a collection of travel essays, and he is currently putting the finishing touches on The Last Professional, a semi-autobiographical hobo novel, which will be available by the end of 2014.

To purchase In All Things, go to and search for the title or author. There's also a Facebook page for the book,


Paperback Book Details
  • 08/2014
  • 9780986069727 0986069728
  • 86 pages
  • $6.95