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Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease
by Gary Greenberg

Am I happy enough?

Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern DiseaseThis has been a pivotal question since America's inception. Am I not happy enough because I am depressed? is a more recent version. In the past twenty years, as antidepressants have become staples of our medicine chests -- upward of thirty million Americans are taking them at an annual cost of more than ten billion dollars -- more people have begun to ask themselves if their unhappiness is a disease that can, and should, be treated by medication.

Part memoir, part intellectual history, part exposé, Manufacturing Depression reveals how this question has come to dominate our understanding of our suffering. Author Gary Greenberg draws on sources ranging from the Old Testament to current medical journals and scholarship to his twenty-five years as a psychotherapist and his own experience as a depression patient to show how the idea that depression is a widespread chronic disease has been packaged by brilliant scientists, doctors, and marketing experts -- and why it is has become wildly successful in the marketplace of ideas.

Rather than asking whether or not depression is a disease, or whether or not we should take drugs to ease our pain, Greenberg asks what we gain and lose by taking this approach, and who benefits when we do. Manufacturing Depression allows readers to think of depression not just as an illness, but as a story about our suffering, its source, and its relief. A remarkably intelligent, witty, and deeply perceptive writer and professional observer, Greenberg has insights and perspective that are bound to spark much debate, and challenge many -- experts and casual readers alike -- to view depression in a wholly new light.

Editorial Reviews
"Manufacturing Depression is a brilliant, provocative, delightfully idiosyncratic -- and engagingly readable! -- personal and intellectual odyssey through twentieth-century psychiatry's expansive love affair with depression. Anyone interested in depression will be challenged to think harder about what it all means for the kind of people we want to be." -- Jerome C. Wakefield, PhD, DSW, coauthor of The Loss of Sadness 

"Manufacturing Depression is required reading for anyone taking, prescribing, advertising, or regulating antidepressants. But more than that, it is food for thought, indispensable in the debate on just how overmedicated and hyper-pathologized we are becoming as a society." -- Julie Holland, M.D., author of Weekends at Bellevue 

"What a felicitous coincidence -- to be...designed for happiness in a land dedicated to its pursuit! In these words, Gary Greenberg illustrates our dilemmas, using examples from the Book of Job to our recent financial crises, and reveals with uncommon eloquence the uncomfortable consequences of this pursuit. Readers beware -- you have an unsettling journey ahead through an alarming underworld but your guide is dependable." -- David Healy, M.D., author of Mania and Let Them Eat Prozac 

"An irreverent and entertaining but ultimately devastating account of how and why ordinary unhappiness and life problems have been redefined as the omnipresent disease of depression. Manufacturing Depression is a classic work of American skepticism and common sense. Somewhere Walker Percy and Mark Twain are smiling." -- Charles Barber, author of Comfortably Numb 

"Gary Greenberg has become an oracle of the modern age. Where most explanation trends toward, well, the trendy, he proves once again that mere skepticism may not be enough. In a medicalized world of specious concepts where false hope has taken the form of a diagnosis and a pill, the only way to challenge current thinking is with a sledgehammer, or a copy of Manufacturing Depression. And best of all, this may be the funniest book on depression ever." -- Errol Morris, Academy Award-winning director of The Fog of War and The Thin Blue Line 

"Gary Greenberg is a philosopher disguised as a psychotherapist, with the style and timing of a stand-up comic. Nobody this intelligent should be permitted to be this funny." -- Carl Elliott, M.D., author of Better Than Well 

“[A] blistering, rambling and entertaining attack on the biomedical disease model of depression?.[a] lyrical history?[Manufacturing Depression] is more than a dizzying, dazzling critique of the biomedical disease model of depression. It is probably the most thoughtful book on depression ever written for a lay audence.”

—Jonathan Rottenberg, Ph.D., Psychology Today



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