David Engen

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  • Lincoln's Melancholy

  • How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness
  • By: Joshua Wolf Shenk
  • Narrated by: Richard M. Davidson
  • Length: 11 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 352
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 176
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 177

Drawing on a wealth of his own research and the work of other 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 developed over a lifetime of persevering through depressive episodes and personal tragedies.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Lincoln was depressed - who knew?

  • By Scott on 06-22-08

Insight and History

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-14-06

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.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful