The Noonday Demon: An Anatomy of Depression

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9780099277132: The Noonday Demon: An Anatomy of Depression
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This work digs deep and painfully into personal experience of depression and mental illness, while also considering the wider picture: the historical, social, biological, pharmaceutical and medical aspects and implications of the disease. Having experienced what he is writing about firsthand, Solomon describes the experience from the inside. He has also researched every aspect of depression, including: the historical treatment and study of "melancholy" as far back as the Greeks and Romans (who believed that cauliflower was good for depression), and through to the side effects of the pharmaceutical cocktails of the present day; case histories of people in out of mental hospitals; faith healers; the power of suggestion; and the implications for the future of Western society.

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Sometimes, the legacy of depression includes a wisdom beyond one's years, a depth of passion unexperienced by those who haven't traveled to hell and back. Off the charts in its enlightening, comprehensive analysis of this pervasive yet misunderstood condition, The Noonday Demon forges a long, brambly path through the subject of depression--exposing all the discordant views and "answers" offered by science, philosophy, law, psychology, literature, art, and history. The result is a sprawling and thoroughly engrossing study, brilliantly synthesized by author Andrew Solomon.

Deceptively simple chapter titles (including "Breakdowns," "Treatments," "Addiction," "Suicide") each sit modestly atop a virtual avalanche of Solomon's intellect. This is not a book to be skimmed. But Solomon commands the language--and his topic--with such grace and empathy that the constant flow of references, poems, and quotations in his paragraphs arrive like welcome dinner guests. A longtime sufferer of severe depression himself, Solomon willingly shares his life story with readers. He discusses updated information on various drugs and treatment approaches while detailing his own trials with them. He describes a pharmaceutical company's surreal stage production (involving Pink Floyd, kick dancers, and an opener à la Cats) promoting a new antidepressant to their sales team. He chronicles his research visits to assorted mental institutions, which left him feeling he would "much rather engage with every manner of private despair than spend a protracted time" there. Under Solomon's care, however, such tales offer much more than shock value. They show that depression knows no social boundaries, manifests itself quite differently in each person, and has become political. And, while it may worsen or improve, depression will never be eradicated. Hope lies in finding ways--as Solomon clearly has--to harness its powerful lessons. --Liane Thomas

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The 2001 National Book Award Winner for Nonfiction.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781501123887: The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  1501123882 ISBN 13:  9781501123887
Publisher: Scribner, 2015
Softcover

9780684854670: The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression

Scribner, 2002
Softcover

9781784702670: The Noonday Demon

Vintage, 2016
Softcover

9781451611038: The Noonday Demon: An Atlas Of Depression

Scribner, 2014
Hardcover

9780684854663: The Noonday Demon: An Atlas Of Depression

Scribner, 2001
Hardcover

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