Contrary to what you may assume,this is a book of hope. Listening to this book will remind you that depression or 'melancholy' as it was called in the day of Lincoln, is not a ticket to obscurity or wasted life. Lincoln's struggle with this illness was a constant companion, which he was able to turn into a means of learning and personal growth. Shenk is a master at setting up the historical context and how Lincoln's mental health situation interacted. Shenk also helps you understand the nature of depression and its impact on any of us who struggle with this condition. What he does not do is create an image of Lincoln as super-hero who was unimpaired by his condition. Instead, Lincoln is seen as a man who was at times beaten up by his own demons but was able to assist others as they battled their own troubled souls. The consummate student, Lincoln learned from his own experience and used his pain as a means of helping those he loved.
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