How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness
Houghton Mifflin, October 2005. A New York Times Notable Book.
"A profoundly human and psychologically important examination of the melancholy that so pervaded Lincoln's life. His suffering and his transformation of that suffering into an astonishing grace and strength are persuasively and beautifully described in this remarkable book." — Kay Redfield Jamison, author of An Unquiet Mind
“A shapely and insightful exegesis of the Civil War president’s inner life… It leaves one feeling close to Lincoln, a considerable accomplishment given that few people felt close to Lincoln even when he was alive.” — Andrew Solomon, New York
"A splendid emotional biography of Lincoln" — Martin Seligman, director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center
"I wanted to write that book—but [Shenk] beat me to the punch." — Bill Clinton
About the Book
Named a best book of the year by The Washington Post and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, earning prizes from the Abraham Lincoln Institute and the National Mental Health Association—and given as a gift by Bill Clinton to George W. Bush—Lincoln’s Melancholy tells, for the first time, the full story of Lincoln’s journey through darkness to wisdom. Drawing on seven years of research, Joshua Wolf Shenk shows how the modern science and literature on depression offer insight into Lincoln’s remarkable journey, and how Lincoln’s story challenges and enriches our understanding of depression.
Excerpted on the cover of The Atlantic, Lincoln's Melancholy was featured on All Things Considered, The History Channel, The Atlantic Unbound, The New Yorker, Slate, C-SPAN’s Book TV, The Leonard Lopate Show, and Here & Now, among others.
Here's Josh with Rosalynn Carter at the New York Public Library.
Here's Josh and Conan O'Brien at Ford's Theater
Here's Josh on the History Channel talking about In Lincoln's Hand, a book of original manuscripts he co-edited with Harold Holzer.