Readers with an interest in the history of science—and with a taste for the dark side of scholarship—will find this...

FREUD’S WIZARD

ERNEST JONES AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF PSYCHOANALYSIS

Revealing analysis of the man who made the work of Sigmund Freud accessible to readers in English.

Ernest Jones, suggests seasoned biographer Maddox (Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA, 2002, etc.), was fortunate to have found psychoanalysis; otherwise, he might have remained a Harlow Street surgeon or doctor, for which he had a good mind but no real inclination. He may also have found it easier to disguise himself in the arcana of analysis, for very early in his medical career he was charged with behaving indecently toward mentally handicapped adolescent patients. He was acquitted, but his life, by Maddox’s account, was dogged by unseemly and strange incidents, possibly even criminal ones. One such mystery was the death of his first wife, without the benefit of autopsy; Maddox notes that Jones’s explanation that “a wartime diet low in sugar had made his wife susceptible to chloroform poisoning” is unconvincing, adding that even Freud himself sensed that something was amiss. Jones had by this time been Freud’s champion and representative for several years, first among a group of peers who deemed themselves “paladins” defending the true church of Freud against its many critics. The knightly circle soon collapsed through infighting, and Jones’s own politicking had its role in what would be a Hobbesian war within the psychoanalytic profession; still, Freud recognized the value Jones brought as one of the few non-Jewish members of his inner circle. Nonetheless, with the rise of Nazism, all forms of Freudian thought were tarred as non-Aryan perversions, and it was Jones—who, among other things, introduced terms such as id, cathexis and repression into English—who rescued Freud from Nazi Vienna, at considerable personal risk.

Readers with an interest in the history of science—and with a taste for the dark side of scholarship—will find this irresistible.

Pub Date: March 30, 2007

ISBN: 0-306-81555-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Da Capo

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2007

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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