Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Joshua Wolf Shenk

Narrated By: Richard M. Davidson

Publisher: HighBridge Company

Date: September 2005

Duration: 11 hours 47 minutes


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.


  • Anonymous

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  • M S Hargrove

    An enlightening book. It presented things from a different viewpoint and provided facts and insight into Lincoln's life that are not commonly communicated.

  • Anonymous

    For a fellow "meloncholic", this expose on Lincoln's life has helped me feel a lot better my own self. It's not so bad after all to be more sensitive than most!

  • Anonymous

    Interesting perspective on how Abraham Lincoln was able to succeed in spite of his life circumstances. Lincoln was able to work through his depression tendencies and become a great leader. The details of the book make for an interesting read.

  • Michael Herb

    Joshua Wolf Shenk in his book Lincoln's Melancholy does humanity a great service. He helps us all better understand the functional role of human suffering. Wolf Shenk argues very persuasively that had Lincoln not been tormented by melancholia (today referred to as depression) he never would have acquired the emotional depth and fortitude to guide the nation through its greatest crisis. In doing this Wolf Shenk enables us to understand the importance of suffering in our own life. He contends that experiencing suffering and learning to cope with it provide human beings with greater insight and commitment to meaningful action. Lincoln's experiences force us acknowledge that suffering provides the key to emotional depth. That depth can make life richer for ourselves and those around us. I found this book to be a refreshing change to the shallow comfort addicted lifetstyle we've come to expect as a our birthright. By attaching value to suffering Wolf Shenk and Lincoln elevate us.

  • Anonymous

    As someone with a personal knowledge of Depression and Bipolar Disorder, I found this book fascinating. To achieve such greatness while battling Depression and having no psychotropic meds to help, simply staggers my mind. What an amazing story. What an amazing man.

  • KJY

    A great story about an amazing man and an interesting look at mental illness. This book seemed to spend more time discussing depression and they way society has viewed depressed people over the past several centuries than it did on the other aspects of Lincoln's life. Although it gave thurough history of the life of our 16th president, it also gave a fascinating history of the study of mental illness. Overall, I thought this book was incredibly intersting and I really enjoyed listening to it.

Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness

by Joshua Wolf Shenk

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Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness, Joshua Wolf Shenk