THE RIGHT TO BE HUMAN: A Biography of Abraham Maslow by Edward Hoffman

THE RIGHT TO BE HUMAN: A Biography of Abraham Maslow

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Abraham Maslow's concepts of ""self-actualization,"" ""peak experience,"" and ""metaneed"" have been incorporated into the language of fields as diverse as theology, business management, and education. This overview of his life and career seeks to restore the integrity of these innovative ideas that were popularized and distorted even in Maslow's lifetime. Hoffman has coauthored The Man Who Dreamed of Tomorrow, a biography of Wilhelm Reich, and has written several books on the relationship between Jewish mysticism and psychology. He is a humanistic psychologist, part of the movement whose development he traces here, and Maslow (1908-1970) was one of his early heroes. In spite of this, his biography is thorough and workmanlike, but rather plodding. Maslow as a man remains a somewhat cloudy and unresolved figure, even though Hoffman has had access to family and friends, and colleagues such as Rollo May and Carl Rogers, and to diaries and personal correspondence with Margaret Mead, Aldous Huxley, and others. The development of Maslow's thought, however, from its beginnings in experimental psychology to its final focus on the motivations and aims of the exceptional and healthy pysche, is a fascinating and complex story. Hoffman is on firmer ground here, and he deftly weaves together the many influences on Maslow, including fieldwork among the Blackfoot Indians and such early mentors as Karen Homey, Erich Fromm and Alfred Adler. A responsible and readable portrait, as well as a solid history of a uniquely American intellectual tradition, this should find an appreciative readership among those in the many fields that continue to be influenced by Maslow's work.

Pub Date: May 18th, 1988
Publisher: Tarcher--dist. by St. Martin's