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Malignant Sadness

Lewis Wolpert

Malignant Sadness: The Anatomy of Depression is Lewis Wolpert’s personal and investigative book on how to deal with depression and shed the stigma attached to the condition.

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‘An excellent book, the most objective short account I know of all the various approaches to depression.’ Anthony Storr

Several years ago, Lewis Wolpert had a severe episode of depression. Despite a happy marriage and successful scientific career, he could think only of suicide. When he did recover, he became aware of the stigma attached to depression – and just how difficult it was to get reliable information. With characteristic candour and determination he set about writing this book, an acclaimed investigation into the causes and treatments of depression, which formed the basis for a BBC TV series.

This paperback edition features a new introduction, in which Wolpert discusses the reaction to his book and BBC series, and recounts his own recurring struggle with depression.

Critic Reviews

This passionate and brilliant book emerges from Wolpert's own experience of depression, a condition he describes well as "a state that bears only a tangential resemblance to normal emotion".' Observer

Critic Reviews

Erudite, scholarly, sober and stylish.' Anthony Clare, Sunday Times

Critic Reviews

Wolpert's dreadful experience provoked him into investigating what exactly is known about depression. The result is this excellent book, the most objective short account I know of all the various approaches to depression... I thoroughly recommend this survey to psychiatrists, general practitioners, and above all, to Wolpert's fellow sufferers.' Anthony Storr Literary Review

Critic Reviews

This book is striking in its clarity about the mind's capacity to swing out of control ... fascinating' Independent


Lewis Wolpert is a distinguished developmental biologist, and is Emeritus Professor in Cell and Developmental Biology at University College, London. He is the author of, among others, The Unnatural Nature of Science and Malignant Sadness, which was described by Anthony Storr as ‘the most objective short account of all the various approaches to depression’. His most recent book, You’re Looking…

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