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Books, Journals, New Media
January 15, 2003


Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor; adviser for new media, Robert Hogan, MD, San Diego.

JAMA. 2003;289(3):362-363. doi:10.1001/jama.289.3.362

The Noonday Demon, winner of the 2001 National Book Award, is a work of staggering ambition and, perhaps inevitably, mixed results. In 12 chapters spanning nearly 600 pages (including 55 pages of chapter notes, a 35-page bibliography of more than 750 sources, and a 29-page index), Solomon examines depression through every conceivable professional and disciplinary lens.

The author's modus operandi, as the subtitle suggests, is to survey all that is known about depression. Although Solomon is neither a scientist nor a clinician (he has written for The New Yorker and The New York Times, and his novel A Stone Boat won the Los Angeles Times First Fiction Award), the book is a remarkably complete, though occasionally off-target, compendium of thought and practice in relation to depression. Richly detailed descriptions of Solomon's own depressive episodes and those of his friends and acquaintances are interspersed throughout the narrative, offering unique insights into the inner experience of major depression.

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