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Original Essays | August 18, 2014

Ian Leslie: IMG Empathic Curiosity

Today, we wonder anxiously if digital media is changing our brains. But if there's any time in history when our mental operations changed... Continue »
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Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness by Joshua Wolf Shenk
Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness

odetosquirrel, November 10, 2006

I finished Joshua Shenk's excellent book, Lincoln's Melancholy, a month ago. And to this day, I frequently think about the book. It was a wonderful read. It was very hard not to keep reading into the wee-hours of the night.

I felt like I was right there with Lincoln during his difficult times of melancholia (depression in todays terms). It was as if I was helping him while he was helping me. I'd catch myself just stopping at times to wrap my mind around how openly Lincoln talked about his melancholia. At times, he was even suicidal which he acknowledged he should not so much as carry a pocket knife. According to his friends, he often cried in public and acted out of his mind wandering the woods.

Yet, somehow, LIncoln managed to turn his melancholia into greatness. He was, no doubt, one of our greatest presidents. He did lead the Union army during the Civil War and become "the Great Emancipator." Absolutely...he was Great!

Even if your not interested in history, mental health, psychology or Lincoln, this book is worth reading. It's reassuring to think that as Lincoln was a very exceptional person, he was somewhat or at least a little like the rest of us.
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