Publisher description for Lincoln's melancholy : how depression challenged a president and fueled his greatness / Joshua Wolf Shenk.


Bibliographic record and links to related information available from the Library of Congress catalog


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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including a poem he published on suicide and his unpublished writings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.


Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Lincoln, Abraham, -- 1809-1865 -- Psychology.
Presidents -- United States -- Biography.