The Noonday Demon Hardcover – 3 May 2001
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"Breakdowns are preposterous" writes Andrew Solomon in his wide-ranging and illuminating study, The Noonday Demon: An Anatomy of Depression. With the current vogue for self-help books, medication doled out at the drop of a hat, and therapy-speak, it would seem that depression is a modern phenomenon, a reaction to the stresses of a consumerist, high-achieving world. Yet as Solomon explains, the word " depression" was "first used in English to describe low spirits in 1660"; prior to this time, the vagaries of the unquiet mind were termed "melancholia". Bravely cataloguing his own series of depressive episodes, Solomon attempts to go to the roots of the illness--for an illness it is, and has to be treated as such--by interviewing fellow sufferers, delving back into history ("the history of depression in the West is closely tied to the history of Western thought")--analysing suicide, addictions, treatments, and depression's underlying causes, from politics to poverty. At the heart of this informed, compassionate book lies Solomon's own story--an established writer with seemingly everything going for him, he succumbed to a series of breakdowns in his 31st year, and eventually rallied with the support of his father, other family members and friends, a good therapist and a shopping list of medications, which he still takes daily. Out of his depression emerged qualities of self he never knew existed, and a desire to "find and cling to the reasons for living". Solomon's dark night of the soul, on a par with Lewis Wolpert's Malignant Sadness is a significant and important chronicle. Between 10 and 15 per cent of Americans and up to 6 million people in the UK experience depression; books like The Noonday Demon might just broaden our understanding of it. --Catherine Taylor
'A mesmerising journey... magnificent', Observer .'Extraordinary and redeeming... A work of great charm and individuality but also of impressive scholarship', Evening Standard .'A lodestone work', GuardianSee all Product Description
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
The book is the product of five years of research and 10,000 pages-worth of interviews alone. In addition, Solomon has suffered depression himself and is a novelist.
The book is certainly not a subjective account of depression. (For an interesting example of that genre see Gwynneth Lewis's recent "Sunbathing in the Rain.) It contains plenty of discussions stemming from statistics, and reports on recent scientific and psychological theories. It has a chapter devoted to the role depression might have in evolution; one on depression and poverty that has a distinctly sociological slant; one chapter that covers the history of medical treatment of depression. But it also contains a wealth of testimony from people who suffer from depression themselves -- as well as Solomon's own story, which is mostly told in two of the twelve chapters. (Around 30 people's stories are given in detail, mostly in their own words.)
I think this book is an excellent place to go to for someone who is interested in learning about depression -- not only about the science of it (what it does, how it can be treated, etc.) but also how it fits into people's lives: how they feel about it, how it came upon them, how they live with it. (For example, if you know someone who is depressed and can't understand why they don't just "snap out of it", or if you don't think it's serious enough to think about treatment -- or alternatively think that pills can cure them completely -- then this book may help you.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Other negative reviewers have pointed out the subjective nature of the book and some, fair point, have argued it has to be subjectively written otherwise it's just a textbook. Read morePublished 2 months ago by God
Just read it for Christ sake, just read it, depressed or not. Just read it.Published 4 months ago by drew bridge
This book is well written. It deals with the subject of mental health problems sensitively and informatively. Not to be rushed.Published 5 months ago by Fran Cash
Very eloquent, suberbly written and frankly honest. An intimate insight into the world of depression.Published 6 months ago by Jon h.
I haven't finished reading it yet, but I am already encapsulated with empathy. Andrew Solomon articulates what I can't with a voice I don't have. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Joanna M.
Andrew Solomon writes well and this is a very detailed account of his own experience of depression. Quite heavy going at times but very worthwhile.Published 8 months ago by Anne Clarke
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Biography > Medical, Legal & Social Sciences > Psychology
- Books > Biography > Social & Health Issues > Depression & Mental Health
- Books > Biography > Social & Health Issues > Living with Cancer & Other Illnesses
- Books > Health, Family & Lifestyle > Medical & Healthcare Practitioners > Ancillary Services
- Books > Health, Family & Lifestyle > Psychology & Psychiatry
- Books > Mind, Body & Spirit > Self Help
- Books > Science & Nature > Medicine > Diseases & Disorders > Mental Diseases & Disorders
- Books > Scientific, Technical & Medical > Medicine & Nursing > Medical Sciences A-Z > Diseases & Disorders