Monday, September 26, 2005

On the iPod: Lincoln's Melancholy

One of the most striking characteristics of Abraham Lincoln, to those who knew him, were his bouts of severe "melancholy." Friends and associates described his persistent sadness, which evidently showed up not only in photos from the period but was a regular expression of his. He wore it everywhere he went, and wrote frequently of his low moods and sense of futility.

Joshua Wolf Shenk has taken this increasingly well-known facet of Lincoln's life and thoroughly examined its impact on his life. Unlike so many depressives, Lincoln overcame the natural retarding effects of the disease to achieve greatly and endure some of the most trying circumstances that a man in leadership has had to bear. This is worth taking a close look at. Not just in general, but for me in particular. I'll let you know what I think.

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