Books by Lucy Freeman

Released: Nov. 15, 1991

A failed attempt to arouse interest in the work of Dorothea Dix, who, in the 19th century, devoted her considerable talents to establishing hospitals for the needy insane. Schlaifer, a longtime advocate of improved treatment of the mentally ill, and prolific science-writer Freeman (coauthor, Our Wish to Kill, p. 312, etc.) have produced a dull biography of a woman who must have been anything but dull. They rely heavily on an 1891 biography of Dix by Francis Tiffany, which may account in part for the stilted and often oddly archaic tone of the present volume (``Dorothea would occupy her hospital home for five years as she suffered a lasting exhaustion and the pain of the steadily advancing disease of which she died—ossification of the lining membranes of the arteries''). Less explicable is the disjointedness of the narrative and why, although the subtitle dubs Dix a Civil War heroine, less than a half-dozen pages are devoted to her Civil War activities. Throughout her life, Dix shrank from publicity, and she wrote no memoirs; indeed, her first biographer commented that ``no real information is to be had about her.'' Schlaifer and Freeman fail to change this. In a final chapter, they do attempt to explain Dix's lifelong concern with helping the mentally disturbed by linking it to her own unhappy childhood—a psychoanalytic leap that might well have been strongly resented by Dix. A plodding biography of a remarkable woman. Read full book review >
LERZA'S LIVES by John Danica
Released: Aug. 28, 1991

Here, first-time author Danica (pen name of a ``decorated ex- marine with a long law-enforcement background'') teams with veteran psychology writer Freeman for a novel about war memories—and about craven supervisors who complicate the task of an undercover FBI agent trying to bust the Philadelphia Cosa Nostra and a devil- worshiping, drug-dealing motorcycle gang at the same time. The war in Vietnam left FBI agent Joe Lerza with a couple of Purple Hearts, three Silver Stars, the Medal of Honor, and a very bad case of nerves when it comes to dealing with tense situations. Tense situations are, however, the order of the day when his double-dealing boss pulls Lerza off the Public Relations desk and assigns him to undercover work in South Philadelphia, where Lerza's ancestry and Sicilian language skills are to provide him with protective coloring. Under the control of capable and sexy agent Patty Masters, Lerza and his massive chum Moose Knepp pass themselves off as coke dealers to drug wholesaler Anthony Miceli, who hopes to move into the shoes of Don Miguel Amato, the local Cosa Nostra capo. The deeper Lerza sinks into his undercover role, the more Lerza is plagued by horrible war memories and the more he loses touch with his life as a respectable father and husband. A very worried Agent Masters tries to get Lerza pulled off the job, but he is too close to bagging Miceli and to busting the Satans, a mob of motorcyclists who intend to knock the Italians out of the drug business altogether. Still, Lerza may have met his match in Lucifer, the pill-popping chief Satan, a Marine deserter whose own war record is quite as shocking as Lerza's. Patty Masters takes unorthodox steps to render assistance. Moose stops many bullets. Not pretty, but it gets the job done. South Philadelphia is fresh territory and the new thug vs. old thug face-off works well. Read full book review >
Released: April 30, 1991

A plea for compassion for the murderers in our midst, who in the authors' Freudian view, where good and evil do not exist, re pitiable victims, differing from the rest of us not in kind but only in degree. Psychotherapist Strean and writer Freeman (Behind the Couch, 1990; The Severed Soul, 1988) explain how the basic aggression all humans are born with can be transformed into murderous hostility when children are deprived of love and security and subjected to abuse in its many forms. Following a look at the origins of the murderous impulse, the authors discuss murder of children by parents and vice versa, murder of wives by husbands and vice versa, serial killers, and finally murder of self, or suicide. Case studies abound. While ostensibly seeking our sympathy for murders as society's victims, however, Strean and Freeman have chosen to include horrific details of crimes that are more likely to evoke revulsion than sympathy for their perpetrators. Debatable, even dubious claims are stated as absolute facts-''What precipitated Marilyn Monroe's suicide was loss of a lover, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who decided to remain with his wife and eight children instead of marrying her''-sometimes with little apparent justification for inclusion other than their titillation value. A rather glib treatment of a serious problem that lingers too long on the details of murders and comes up short in its stated aim of showing how we can be more loving, constructive human beings and society can be made more thoughtful and caring. Read full book review >
Released: May 12, 1989

A sequel to Freeman's Fight Against Fears, summing up and celebrating her continuing years in analysis. Fight Against Fears, published in the early 50's, was a compelling, absolutely honest account of Freeman's psychoanalysis that probably did more than any other popular or academic work to legitimize psychoanalysis in America. Now, here is a report of Freeman's progress since that time, through three more analysts, two marriages, a number of affairs, and a successful career as writer and reporter. With long-term psychoanalysis and Freud himself under attack, Freeman's experience is an example of what might be termed a successful analysis—a long, gradual unfolding to consciousness of the childhood experiences and emotions that shape a personality. From the brutal attack by her second husband that opens the book to the sad death of her mother, and the almost equally sad last hour of analysis, Freeman opens her life and her heart to the reader as she did to her various analysts. In Freeman's revelations, the slow, delicate process has as much appeal as her goal, escaping the "beloved prison" of the past. Constantly intruding, however, are stilted quotes, prefabricated sentences like "You sound like my brilliant, but often ironic, prone-to-tease father," and the nagging doubt as to whether Freeman's family is as interesting to the rest of the world as it is to her. A sensitive account of psychoanalysis, but a question that is not answered here: Were 20 years on the couch really necessary? Read full book review >