Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness
Drawing on seven years of his own research and the work of other esteemed Lincoln scholars, Shenk reveals how the sixteenth president harnessed his depression to fuel his astonishing success.
Lincoln found the solace and tactics he needed to deal with the nation’s worst crisis in the "coping strategies” he had developed over a lifetime of persevering through depressive episodes and personal tragedies.
With empathy and authority gained from his own experience with depression, Shenk crafts a nuanced, revelatory account of Lincoln and his legacy. Based on careful, intrepid research, Lincoln’s Melancholy unveils a wholly new perspective on how our greatest president brought America through its greatest turmoil.
Shenk relates Lincoln’s symptoms, including mood swings and at least two major breakdowns, and offers compelling evidence of the evolution of his disease, from "major depression” in his twenties and thirties to "chronic depression” later on. Shenk reveals the treatments Lincoln endured and his efforts to come to terms with his melancholy, including a poem he published on suicide and his unpublished writings on the value of personal--and national--suffering. By consciously shifting his goal away from personal contentment (which he realized he could not attain) and toward universal justice, Lincoln gained the strength and insight that he, and America, required to transcend profound darkness.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - Mitchell_Bergeson_Jr - LibraryThing
This is a solid read. The book's premise is that Mr. Lincoln suffered from melancholy. Today, many would consider his suffering as clinical chronic depression. I think the book does speculate a lot ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - bartt95 - LibraryThing
A great, scholarly work on Lincoln's inner life which was, apparently, very bleak. "I am now the most miserable man living", he said in his early thirties, and I admit, he might have been a contender ... Read full review
The Community Said He Was Crazy
A Fearful Gift
I Am Now the Most Miserable Man Living
A SelfMade Man
A Misfortune Not a Fault
Its Precise Shape and Color
The Fiery Trial Through Which We Pass
Comes Wisdom to Us
What Everybody Knows