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The Noonday Demonby Andrew Solomon
Synopses & Reviews
In the tradition of The Emperor of All Maladies and The Noonday Demon, a moving, eye-opening exploration of PTSD
Just as polio loomed over the 1950s, and AIDS stalked the 1980s and ’90s, posttraumatic stress disorder haunts us in the early years of the twenty-first century. Over a decade into the United States’ “global war on terror,” PTSD afflicts as many as 30 percent of the conflict’s veterans. But the disorder’s reach extends far beyond the armed forces. In total, some twenty-seven million Americans are believed to be PTSD survivors. Yet to many of us, the disorder remains shrouded in mystery, secrecy, and shame.
Now, David J. Morris — a war correspondent, former Marine, and PTSD sufferer himself — has written the essential account of this illness. Through interviews with individuals living with PTSD, forays into the scientific, literary, and cultural history of the illness, and memoir, Morris crafts a moving work that will speak not only to those with the condition and to their loved ones, but also to all of us struggling to make sense of an anxious and uncertain time.
"An amazingly rich and absorbing work....In its flow of insights and its scope — encompassing not only the author's ordeal but also keen inquiries into the biological, social, and political aspects of the illness — The Noonday Demon has achieved a level of authority that should assure its place among the few indispensable works on depression." William Styron, author of Darkness Visible and Sophie's Choice
"The Noonday Demon is immensely readable and should be universally useful. It is indeed an atlas of depression, sensitively chronicling the illness's characteristics, social and cultural history, modes of treatment, and prospects. What makes it remarkable is a highly individual blend of the personal and the dispassionate, the work of a benign intelligence." Harold Bloom
"Compulsively readable, harrowing and helpful, The Noonday Demon is an act of redemption in an epidemic of sorrow." Louise Erdrich
"The Noonday Demon is an eloquent, harrowintg account of melancholy and dread. It informs deeply in every manner — personal, scientific, historical, and political — about the roots, experience, and treatment of clinical depression. It is an important book about suffering, but an even more immportant one about hope." Kay Redfield Jamison, author of An Unquiet Mind
"In examining depression as a cultural phenomenon, he cites many literary melancholics Virginia Woolf, Samuel Beckett, John Milton, Shakespeare, John Keats, and George Eliot as well as such thinkers as Freud and Hegel, to map out his 'atlas' of the condition. Smart, empathetic, and exhibiting a wide and resonant knowledge of the topic, Solomon has provided an enlightening and sobering window onto both the medical and imaginative worlds of depression." Publishers Weekly
"The backbone of this superb work is the author's narrative of his own struggles with severe depression, his musings on its multifarious causes and on the role that his privileged socioeconomic status has played in its successful management. Solomon also interviewed scores of other depression sufferers about their trials with treatment and visited Africa, Greenland, and Cambodia in search of different cultural perspectives. This journalistic approach allows Solomon to convey a great deal of information in the form of fascinating, if sometimes horrific, life stories. This compassionate work that never simplifies complex matters is essential for all collections." Library Journal
In the tradition of Andrew Solomon and Kay Redfield Jamison, an examination of the impact of posttraumatic stress disorder on American life, by an ex-Marine and war correspondent who suffers from the condition.
With uncommon humanity, candor, wit, and erudition, award-winning author Andrew Solomon takes the reader on a journey of incomparable range and resonance into the most pervasive of family secrets. His contribution to our understanding not only of mental illness but also of the human condition is truly stunning.
The Noonday Demon examines depression in personal, cultural, and scientific terms. Drawing on his own struggles with the illness and interviews with fellow sufferers, doctors and scientists, policymakers and politicians, drug designers and philosophers, Solomon reveals the subtle complexities and sheer agony of the disease. He confronts the challenge of defining the illness and describes the vast range of available medications, the efficacy of alternative treatments, and the impact the malady has had on various demographic populations around the world and throughout history. He also explores the thorny patch of moral and ethical questions posed by emerging biological explanations for mental illness.
The depth of human experience Solomon chronicles, the range of his intelligence, and his boundless curiosity and compassion will change the reader's view of the world.
About the Author
Andrew Solomon studied at Yale University and Jesus College, Cambridge, England. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker, ArtForum, and The New York Times Magazine. He is the author of The Irony Tower: Soviet Artists in a Time of Glasnost and the novel A Stone Boat, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times First Fiction Award. For more information, visit www.noondaydemon.com
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