Books and Documentaries

Cracked Not Broken

cracked-not-broken-cover-3For author Kevin Hines the Golden Gate Bridge is not merely a marker of a place or a time. Instead, the bridge marks the beginning of his remarkable story. At 19 years old, Kevin attempted to take his own life by jumping off the bridge - a distance which took four seconds to fall. Recently diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, Kevin had begun to hear voices telling him he had to die, and days before his attempt, he began to believe them.

The fall would break his body, but not his spirit. His story chronicles the extraordinary will of the author to live mentally well in the face of his mental illness: bipolar disorder with psychotic features. With each mental breakdown, however, the author’s desire to live mentally well-- and to be a mental health advocate-- pulls him from the depths of his condition. Kevin’s story is a remarkable testament to the strength of the human spirit and a reminder to us to love the life we have. His story also reminds us that living mentally well takes time, endurance, hard work, and support. With these disciplines in place, those living with even very difficult diagnoses can achieve better lives for themselves and those who help to support and care for them.

Find Kevin's book on Amazon.

The Bridge

the-bridge-coverThe Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic structure; a symbol of San Francisco, the West, freedom – and something more, something spiritual, something words cannot describe.

The director and crew spent an entire year focusing on the Bridge. Running cameras for almost every daylight minute, they documented nearly two dozen suicides and a great many unrealized attempts. In addition, the director captured nearly 100 hours of incredibly frank, deeply personal, often heart-wrenching interviews with the families and friends of the departed, as well as with several of the attempters themselves.

THE BRIDGE is a visual and visceral journey into one of life’s gravest taboos, offering glimpses into the darkest, and possibly most impenetrable corners of the human mind.

The release of this film and the powerful images of suicide from a national landmark sparked current efforts to stop of suicide from the Golden Gate Bridge.

Paying the Toll: Local Power, Regional Politics, and the Golden Gate Bridge

paying-the-toll-coverConstructing the Golden Gate Bridge posed political and financial challenges that were at least as difficult as those faced by the project's builders. To meet these challenges, northern California boosters created a new kind of agency: an autonomous, self-financing special district.

The Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District developed into a powerful organization that shaped the politics and government of the Bay Area as much as the bridge shaped its physical development. From the moment of the bridge district's incorporation in 1928, its managers pursued their own agenda. They used all the resources at their disposal to preserve their control over the bridge, cultivating political allies, influencing regional policy, and developing an ambitious public relations program. Undaunted by charges of mismanagement and persistent efforts to turn the bridge (as well as its lucrative tolls) over to the state, the bridge district expanded into mass transportation, taking on ferry and bus operations to ensure its survival to this day. 


Drawing on previously unavailable archives, Paying the Toll gives us an inside view of the world of high-stakes development, cronyism, and bureaucratic power politics that have surrounded the Golden Gate Bridge since its inception.

Find Louise's book on Amazon.

The Final Leap

final-leap-coverSince it opened in 1937, more than 1,500 people have died jumping off the bridge, making it the top suicide site on earth. It’s also the only international landmark without a suicide barrier. Weaving drama, tragedy, and politics against the backdrop of a world-famous city, The Final Leap is the first book ever written about Golden Gate Bridge suicides. John Bateson leads us on a fascinating journey that uncovers the reasons for the design decision that led to so many deaths, provides insight into the phenomenon of suicide, and examines arguments for and against a suicide barrier. He tells the stories of those who have died, the few who have survived, and those who have been affected—from loving families to the Coast Guard, from the coroner to suicide prevention advocates.

Find John's book on Amazon.

The Joy of Life

joy-of-life-coverThe Joy of Life (2005) is an experimental landscape documentary film about the history of suicide and the Golden Gate Bridge, and the adventures of a butch lesbian in San Francisco, California. Since its January 2005 premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, this innovative feature film played a pivotal role in renewing debate about the need for a suicide barrier on The Golden Gate Bridge as well as garnering praise and earning awards for its unique film-making style.

The film combines 16mm landscape cinematography with a lyrical voice-over (performed by LA-based artist/actor Harriet “Harry” Dodge) to share two San Francisco stories: the history of the Golden Gate Bridge as a suicide landmark, and the story of a butch dyke in San Francisco searching for love and self-discovery.

The two stories are punctuated by Lawrence Ferlinghetti's reading of his ode to San Francisco, "The Changing Light" and book-ended by opening and closing credits music from legendary '50s icon (and probable Golden Gate suicide) Weldon Kees.

The Girl Behind The Door: A Father's Journey Into The Mystery Of Attachment

downloadA Marin County, California father embarks on a journey to understand what led his seventeen-year-old daughter, Casey, to take her life. He travels back to her abandonment at birth and adoption from a Polish orphanage. His search leads to a condition known as attachment disorder, an affliction common among children who have been abandoned, neglected or abused. It explained everything. The Girl Behind The Door integrates a tragic personal adoption story with information from the experts to teach other families what the Brookses learned too late.

Find John's book on Amazon

Login Form