A concise study of the cultural, political and economic context in which Freud developed his theory of psychoanalysis. The author, an analyst himself, draws upon the ambiguous and contradictory forces in the society of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and shows how fin de siÃ‰cle Vienna was the nurturer of the young man whose work would shock the respectable bourgeois of his time. With generous quotes from contemporaries of Freud like Schnitzler, Hofmannsthal and others, the emotional and psychological climate of the time, with its questioning of values, alienation and despair, is clearly shown. While pretending to be stoic traditionalists on the one hand and cavorting like characters in a Viennese operetta on the other, the empire's inhabitants teetered on the brink of crisis. Instability tore at this loose confederation as antagonistic ethnic groups threatened to pull it apart. There was a paternalism that allowed certain freedoms and a lively exchange of ideas that were to produce many scientific and cultural advances. All this ferment influenced Freud, who was in every respect a conventional person worried about the practicalities of life--job, marriage and a family. The author is particularly adept at relating Freud's life and experiences to his research and writings. Part of the purpose of this book is to encourage readers to read Sigmund Freud and to look at him anew. To a great extent, the author has succeeded in arousing interest; for those who are not prepared to read more exhaustive studies, Zanuso's treatment is an admirable and efficient one.