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With a graceful nod to Dr. Phil, historian and essayist Joshua Wolf Shenk puts Abraham Lincoln on the couch and concludes that the man lived with a lifelong case of major depression. But far from standing in his way, Lincoln’s depression, argues Shenk in Lincoln’s Melancholy, is what drove him to such heights: Concluding that there was no chance to save his own soul from wrenching melancholy, Lincoln needed a larger purpose and so set out to save the world from injustice instead. Well into his 40s, it seemed he would leave the world to save itself, having spent but a brief stint in Congress and done little else. John Brown’s raid at Harper’s Ferry, though, changed the political equation and allowed for Lincoln’s meteoric ascent to the White House—which quickly resulted in the red states calling it quits with the Union. The rest, as they say, is history. Shenk discusses and signs copies of the book at 7 p.m. Olsson’s Books and Records, 418 7th St.. NW. Free. (202) 638-7610. (Ryan Grim)