This book pulls back into account the oral history that too many historians discount. As an attorney I know that documented history can be over valued and too many times oral history may be more accurate than recorded history.
This book also brings a psycho-analytical approach to both the oral and documented history of Lincoln.
It is a MUST READ for any Lincoln or Civil War historian.
It is hard to turn off.
I almost didn't buy this because the sample on here sounded a little shoddy. However, I am glad I bought it and would say the actual audio is superb. I enjoyed the narrator and the content of this book stunned me at every turn. It is a great book for anyone who has struggled through depression and asked themselves, 'is the answer to my problems in a pill, or in channeling my pain into something more powerful and meaningful'? It is for anyone who likes Lincoln and to learn about History. One of the best audio's I've ever listened to. I'm buying 5 in print editions for friends this Christmas.
Ardent Audible listener with a long commute!
This book asks a question which isn't answered: was Lincoln depressed because he was astoundingly empathetic, or was he empathetic because he was depressed? It's a question that can't be answered, at least at this point in time, but it's certainly worth the discussion.
I think that this book is worthy of the read, even without knowing much of Lincoln's background, although I can't vouch for that - I spent part of my childhood in Illinois, and I didn't even have to imagine Lincoln's Springfiled home. I just had to think back on a fourth grade field trip.
I was surprised to realize that severe depression - "melancholy" - was not hidden in Lincoln's time. His friends knew when he went into melancholy, and organized watches and care. It would be called "intervention" now, or maybe he'd be on a 5150 hold in California. It's interesting to think that one of the foundations of his personality was accepted in the 19th century, but so hidden and shameful now that he would never have become President. The stigma of severe depression is lifting somewhat now - for example Jesse Jackson Jr. was re-elected, even with the illness - but it hasn't happened yet.
I finished this book several months ago, and from time to time, I think over the unanswered question. That is the mark of a great book - one that stays in your mind long after it is done.
I do have a criticism of the author's style - sometimes Joshua Wolf Shrenk goes down a tangled, winding path in discussing the psychology, and it's easy to forget the point he is trying to make. I had to rewind several times to figure that out.
[If you found this review "helpful", please let me know by clicking the "helpful" button.]
It truly amazed me to learn that Lincoln suffered from acute depression. I could identify with many experiences he had related to depression. It was also beneficial to learn that to be melancholic in Lincoln's day could be perceived as a virtue. It certainly doesn't have the stigma it has today.
I learned that even great men such as Lincoln have suffered from depression. That depression can actually enhance one's life experience.
Absolutely great! Very important read for anybody who thinks they know everything
about our greatest President and anybody who wishes to learn about mental illness.
The book is told in sort of a lecture like presentation but then after a few minutes, you feel as if the writer( Mr. Shenk ) and the narrator (Mr. Davidson) are talking to YOU personally.
I listened to this every day on my way to work and hated when I arrived there. Couldn't wait to head home, to get back into this wonderful book.
Non-fiction, fiction--I read widely. Except bodice rippers. I'd rather pull my own eyelashes out than read romance. Avid, happy reader.
Wow--what an interesting book! This is the first book I've read about Lincoln, and it made me want to read more. If you suffer from depression, or know someone who does, there's something pretty inspiring about this book, as it really shows some of the positive traits associated with depression along with the difficulties. It doesn't seem to overstep what is known about Lincoln, and doesn't come off like psycho-babble at any point.
I love an engaging, nonfiction story that leaves me learning something new, and this definitely fits the bill. Highly recommend!
The author has handled this subject well. Overall however the book could stand some editing. The topic is covered too well and often redundantly.
This is a very readable book that gives an aspect of Lincoln, that out of all the possibly thousands of books written about him, fail to deal with. The description of his disease and response to it, paints a true picture of the depressed patients I have worked with over the past years. The author's observations of Lincoln's approach to coping with depression, using it as a strength, is marvelous and inspiring.
In this well-written, well-narrated book the listener is offered a great perspective on how and why Lincoln, because of his approach to his melancholy, accomplished so much in his life.