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Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatnessby Joshua Wolf Shenk
Synopses & Reviews
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.
With empathy and authority gained from his own experience with depression, Shenk crafts a nuanced, revelatory account of Lincoln and his legacy, and in the process unveils a wholly new perspective on how our greatest president guided America through its greatest turmoil.
"Davidson delivers a fine performance in this exploration of Abraham Lincoln's depressive nature and its influence on his political life. From boyhood through assassination to legacy, Shenk probes all chambers of the 16th president's troubled heart. Davidson's voice is perfectly complementary for such historical and intimate matter, offering up an inviting rocking-chair-by-the-fire feel. So fitting is his voice that it feels anachronistic when Shenk veers into the present, bringing Davidson's earthy, log-cabin tones along with it. But the narration is, for the most part, flawless (save for a few surprising mispronunciations). Davidson's engagement with the material never flags despite the sometimes abrupt time-hopping and dense side paths Shenk periodically travels. Davidson recites several poems beautifully and renders an excellent Irish brogue. Listeners may find the musical cues confusing, though. For example, moody piano lines occasionally close out sections in the middle or latter part of a disc, falsely prompting the finger toward the eject button. The production also features several extras including a somewhat superfluous NPR-style interview with Shenk plus an excerpt from an upcoming Benjamin Franklin biography. Overall, despite a few quirks, a full and worthy listen. (Reviews, July 11) (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
RICHARD M. DAVIDSON's career spans all venues of the acting business: theatre, film, and narration.
JOSHUA WOLF SHENK has written for The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, Mother Jones, and other publications. He is a former editor of The Washington Monthly and has been a correspondent for The New Republic, The Economist, and U.S News and World Report. He serves on the advisory council of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. Shenk resides in Brooklyn, New York.
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