MLA Platinum Award Press Release

BookBrowse Reviews Against Depression by Peter D. Kramer

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Against Depression

by Peter D. Kramer

Against Depression by Peter D. Kramer X
Against Depression by Peter D. Kramer
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2005, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2006, 368 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


An eloquent case for considering depression a disease.

From the book jacket: Depression, linked in our culture to a long tradition of “heroic melancholy,” is often understood as ennobling—a source of soulfulness and creativity. Tracing this belief from Aristotle to the Romantics to Picasso, and to present-day memoirs of mood disorder, Kramer suggests that the pervasiveness of the illness has distorted our sense of what it is to be human. There is nothing heroic about depression, Kramer argues, and he presents the latest scientific findings to support the fact that depression is a disease—one that can have far-reaching health effects on its sufferers.

Comment: Kramer says that when he was on tour with Listening to Prozac one question, or variation on a question, kept coming up - what if Prozac had been available in van Gogh's time?  In Against Depression Kramer pushes back against the perception that depression is somehow ennobling - the burden genius must bear, and that humanity would somehow be the poorer if depression was conquered.  In Kramer's mind it is simply a disease, "the most devastating disease known to humankind," that can and should be cured.   He splits his book into three parts - in the first part ("What It Is to Us") he explores why it is we could find depression an attractive (for want of a  better word) condition - tracing the history of depression from Hippocrates through the Renaissance and the romantic "cult of melancholy" to the modern day.  In  the second part, "What It Is", he explores the biology of depression, and in the last part, "What It Will Be" he envisions the benefits of a world free from depression - which he believes would be a world where people could take risks with their emotions more freely in the knowledge that they were protected from the sink-hole of all out depression. 

All in all, a thoughtful, sometimes controversial, look at depression - but I do suggest that, if you are interested in this topic, you read the book rather than listen to the audio version read by Kramer - as, ironically, I found the latter rather depressing.  No doubt he is a fascinating man stuffed full with fascinating ideas but, I'm sorry to say, his reading style was a little dull.

Peter D. Kramer, M.D., recently named host of the national, weekly public radio series, The Infinite Mind, is "possibly the best-known psychiatrist in America," as The New York Times put it. Peter Kramer received his M.D. from Harvard and is the best-selling author of Listening to Prozac, Should You Leave?, Spectacular Happiness, and Moments of Engagement. His latest book, Against Depression, was published in May 2005.

In 2004, two programs of The Infinite Mind hosted by Kramer won top media awards: a Gracie Allen Award from the American Women in Radio and Television for an examination of "Domestic Violence" and a National Mental Health Association Media Award for Between Two Worlds: Mental Health for Immigrants. Kramer has written for The New York Times Magazine and The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book Review, The Washington Post, the (London) Times Literary Supplement and U.S. News & World Report, among other publications. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island, where he is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University, and has a private practice.

This review is from the Against Depression. It first ran in the August 17, 2006 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Dredging in Swann
    A Dredging in Swann
    by Tim Garvin
    A Dredging in Swann, set in fictional Swann County, North Carolina, centers around fresh-out-of-the-...
  • Book Jacket: The Black Cathedral
    The Black Cathedral
    by Marcial Gala
    Marcial Gala's The Black Cathedral, translated from the Spanish by Anna Kushner, is narrated through...
  • Book Jacket: When We Were Vikings
    When We Were Vikings
    by Andrew David MacDonald
    In When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald, readers are first introduced to Zelda on her ...
  • Book Jacket: How to Build a Heart
    How to Build a Heart
    by Maria Padian
    Maria Padian is well-known for her motif of exploring teen reactions to social issues. Her novel ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Sun Down Motel
    by Simone St. James

    The chilling new novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Splendid and the Vile
    by Erik Larson

    A fresh and compelling portrait of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
American Dirt
by Jeanine Cummins

"American Dirt is a Grapes of Wrath for our times."
—Don Winslow

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The Lost Family

The Lost Family
by Libby Copeland

A deeply reported look at the rise of home genetic testing and the seismic shock it has had on individual lives.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A F I Need I A F I

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.