Colt, George Howe

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COLT, George Howe


Born in El Paso, TX; married Anne Fadiman; children: Susannah and Henry. Education: Harvard University, B.A., 1976; Johns Hopkins University, M.A., 1978.


Home—160 Chestnut Plain Road, Whately, MA 01093.


Life, former staff writer.


National Book Award finalist, 2003, for The Big House.


The Enigma of Suicide, Summit Books (New York, NY), 1991.

The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home, Scribner (New York, NY), 2003.

Contributor to publications such as the New York Times, Civilization, and Mother Jones.


George Howe Colt, a former staff writer for Life magazine, first thought of writing his book The Enigma of Suicide while writing an article for Life. The article was about eight teenagers who had committed suicide in a New York City suburb in the span of only four months. In The Enigma of Suicide Colt tries to answer the question of why people commit suicide. Colt provides a historical look at suicide, discusses more recent medical studies on why people commit suicide, and presents interviews with psychiatrists, clergy members, and those that have attempted suicide. A Kirkus Reviews contributer noted, "Some of the mystery [of suicide] is dispelled in this comprehensive, clearly written examination of the subject." Washington Post Book World contributor Anthony Storr praised, "One of the most comprehensive studies on the phenomenon of suicide that I know of."

In The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home, Holt recalls his visits over the years to his family's summer home on Cape Cod. The house was built in 1903 by Holt's great-grandfather and has seen the lives of four generations of his family prosper and at times fail. Booklist contributor Carol Haggas claimed, "A touching, deeply felt memoir."



Booklist, May 15, 2003, Carol Haggas, review of The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home, p. 1635.

Economist, June 21, 2003, "Sound of Waves: A House on Cape Cod," p. 78.

Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 1991, review of The Enigma of Suicide, pp. 224-225.

Life, December, 1995, Daniel Okrent, "George's Angels," p. 8.

Los Angeles Times, June 2, 1991, Steve Oney, "On the Edge," pp. 1, 12.

New York Times, April 19, 1992, review of The Enigma of Suicide, p. 20; July 6, 2003, Le Anne Schreiber, review of The Big House.

Publishers Weekly, February 15, 1991, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of The Enigma of Suicide, p. 83; May 12, 2003, review of The Big House, p. 57.

Washington Post Book World, May 19, 1991, Anthony Storr, "To Be or Not to Be," review of The Enigma of Suicide, p. 6.*