A thorough and often critical biography of the second most important figure in 20th-century psychology (the first of two Jung biographies due out this fall). Veteran biographer and intellectual historian McLynn (Robert Louis Stevenson, 1994, etc.) appropriately devotes a great deal of space to the final break in 1912 between Freud and his onetime protÇgÇ Jung. The author does an excellent job of delineating their intellectual differences: In contrast to psychology's founding father, Jung rejected the near-monocausality of sexuality for psychological disorders, downplayed the role of transference in treatment, and was highly sympathetic to religion's role in the search for meaning and psychic health. While praising his subject's ``astonishing fertility of ideas and . . . eclecticism of inspiration,'' McLynn demonstrates how disturbed many of his most important personal relationships were. The author concludes that, having had many affairs, Jung ``had destroyed both [his wife Emma's] life and that of Toni Wolff [his longest and most important mistress] as thoroughly as it was possible for a human to do by his habitual infidelities, his coldness, his ruthlessness and his rating of anima archetypes over flesh-and-blood women.'' On the most controversial aspect of the Swiss thinker's life, McLynn is restrained and fair-minded but pulls no punches in revealing how Jung was ``at best ambivalent and, at worst, openly supportive'' toward the Nazis in the 1930s. And if he was often intellectually insightful and culturally sophisticated, Jung was also prone to fatuous one-dimensional judgments of others. In addition, Jung's presentation of his ideas often was stylistically murky and sometimes even self-contradictory. While McLynn could have explained a few of Jung's more recondite ideas more fully, this very solid, well-paced biography will help readers understand both why Jung was so intensely admired and hated, and why, in terms of intellectual influence, he came to be so thoroughly overshadowed by his great nemesis, Freud. (For an even harsher view of Jung, see Richard Noll, The Aryan Christ, p. 935.)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 1997

ISBN: 0-312-15491-7

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1997


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

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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998


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

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