ISBN: 978-1-936332-25-0
ePub: 978-1-936332-39-7
6 x 9, 480 pgs., $24.95
BISACS: OCC019000; OCC011000; SEL016000

Special Features
  • Screenplay Available
  • Foreign Translations: *Chinese


Delusions of grandeur or relentless ambition? Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.

Starting at age 13 when his father's suicide spun his family into chaos, Donald Brown found himself swirling in a sea of uncertainty. He rebelled, was labeled a "loser," dropped out of high school, and put a promising baseball career on hold to join the Marines. A bizarre accident put his plans out of reach so he settled for a factory job where an industrial accident crushed his knee and left him wheelchair-bound. Doctors told him he'd never walk again. Then, his marriage failed. Brown felt utterly defeated.

But while on morphine for pain Brown dreamed he would graduate from Harvard Law School and walk across America. Everyone told him he was crazy. Undeterred, over the next few years, Brown would accomplish both goals. This awe-inspiring story chronicles Brown's journey, both physical and metaphorical, to recalibrate his life. From Boston to Big Sur, from the factory floor to the halls of the Ivy League, this book celebrates determination and courage and offers hope for those who need to reboot their lives.

The Morphine Dream will leave you cheering.


Don L. Brown is a former standout sandlot baseball player, and later a well-regarded defensive tackle on a professional football team in the New England Conference; Don became a laborer after his playing days were over. After suffering a catastrophic injury while working in a factory, he made his way to college at the age of 36. His path began at Mount Wachusset Community College and took him to Amherst College and Harvard Law School. At Harvard Law he was a classmate of Both Michelle (Robinson) Obama and Barack Obama.

In his third year law school thesis—written in 1989 and now housed in the permanent collection at the Harvard Law School Library—Brown predicted that Barack Obama would become president of the United States. A long-time college professor and noted distance walker, Brown still participates in charity walking events all around the country.


Gary S. Chafetz: Often referred to as "one of the ten best journalists of the past twenty-five years," Gary Chafetz is a former Boston Globe correspondent, and twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the Globe. He is the author of three books, including The Perfect Villain, and The Search for the Lost Army: The National Geographic and Harvard University Expedition.


“A most inspirational memoir...” —Alan M. Dershowitz Internationally acclaimed author, criminal defense and civil liberties lawyer, and Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

“Walking is an American tradition. The compelling story that Don Brown tells about his formative years and his life experiences is an extraordinary read. Anyone who loves walking, this great country, and the great sense of triumph overcoming tragedy must read Don Brown’s new book. It is a page-turner and a compelling lesson about humility, justice, equality, and faith. I recommend it enthusiastically!” —Charles Ogletree, Jr. The Jesse Climenko Professor of Law and the founder and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School. Author of The Presumption of Guilt: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Race, Class, and Crime in America, and others

“You have done it and I must confess that I am both impressed and envious. Impressed because you have stayed with a very large task and actively translated personal experience into a quite readable document . . . ” —Derrick Bell The late professor became the first African American to be granted tenure at Harvard Law School, where he established a course in civil rights law and wrote Race, Racism and American Law, a standard law school textbook nationwide. He was also the first African American dean of the University of Oregon Law School. He was an acclaimed author of both fiction and non-fiction, including the books And We Are Not Saved and Faces at the Bottom of the Well.

“A fascinating and compelling story—part Blue Highways, part Rocky—to mix a few art forms. It is a travelogue, but moreover a human interest story and a treatise on the importance of never giving up, no matter how many times you are knocked down, no matter what anybody tells you. I kept my road atlas by my side as I read this and I felt like I, too, walked across the country—but without the bugs, blisters and boiling temperatures! This is an amazing memoir with the capacity to uplift and inspire people to achieve their own dreams.” —Christine Belleris Editor of the original Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and president of Beyond Words, Inc.

“I am not in the habit of inviting authors on book tour to my home for dinner, but if I were, our life would be more interesting. Nevertheless, I took this step after hearing Donald Brown promote his book, The Morphine Dream, in Seattle a few weeks ago. Having written a memoir of my own, I consider it good form to support other memoirists. And this man’s story is extraordinary. It is hard to know where to...” Click here to read more