The Noonday Demon - An Atlas of Depression, by Andrew Solomon

A vast exploration of the subject by Solomon, who has suffered several episodes of what sounds like pretty severe depression. The book is (by Solomon's admission) a fairly subjective look at the subject, with Solomon offering opinions on the various options available, but he does provide a great deal of factual evidence in addition to his more anecdotal sections.

As well as providing a history of his own depressive episodes, the book looks at the pathology of the condition, and there are also chapters on social aspects (e.g. poverty, politics) and the history of depression (the "History" chapter is the longest in the book).

While Solomon has undoubtedly had an awful time, you sometimes get the feeling that he sees depression everywhere he looks. After reading this book you feel that pretty much everyone must be subject to depression, and pretty much every mood change is an aspect of it. Maybe it is as widespread as the book implies, but I can't help thinking that the fact that he spent two years or whatever speaking to people about their experiences has led him to overestimate its incidence.

There are too many things in the book that I thought interesting for me to list all. Here are some of the things I highlighted while reading it:

Completed : 20-May-2003

Links

  • The book has a webpage at www.noondaydemon.com
  • Amazon's page.
  • [nickoh] [2003 books] [books homepage]