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Synopsis

This is in many ways a very personal book. It tells the story of my own struggle with depression and the various ways I tried to cope with it over these past many years. I have placed my struggle in historical perspective and within the context of the lives of others who have gone through similar or, in some cases, much worse battles than those I fought. The first part of the book contains a method for gaining intimacy and, hence relieving depression. It stresses the importance of authenticity as distinguished from honesty and the relationship of concurrently authentic behavior in intimate relationships and depression-free living. This method involves changing life styles and is far more comprehensive than what one encounters in the usual therapy session. It provided the cognitive basis for my own recovery and the inspiration for this book. Alcohol looms large in this book as it did in my life and in the lives of many people who chose to write for a living. It's relationship to depression is highlighted here along with other methods of coping with depression. Later chapters reveal the way primary areas in contemporary society: religion, bureaucratic structure, occupation, and family, contribute to depression, by limiting the individual's ability to establish intimacy or to act authentically at home, at work, or in church. These chapters are heavily influenced by the work of Alice Miller who has done so much to lay bare the depressing features of German society. In this book it is the American way of depression that is analyzed. While the "Road Less Traveled" that is mapped here is different from Scott Peck's, the goals are the same - liberation from depression and the building of a better world.

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