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Impressively well-researched, powerfully written, and definitively damning.

A thorough debunking of the Freud legend by an accomplished author and academic.

In this elegant and relentless exposé, New York Review of Books contributor Crews (Emeritus, English/Univ. of California; Follies of the Wise: Dissenting Essays, 2006, etc.) wields his razor-sharp scalpel on Freud’s slavish followers, in particular, who did not want to see or who willfully redacted the sloppiness of Freud’s research methods in order to “idealize him.” The author sees a blackout of sorts by what he calls the Freudolatry, or the coterie of Freud apologists, from Anna Freud to many scholars down the line, who have limited access to his letters or correspondence between young Freud and his then-fiancee, Martha Bernays, between 1882 and 1886. This was the crucial period in the formation of his “seduction theory” and establishment as a specialist of nervous concerns among patients (largely well-off Jewish women) in Vienna. Having studied briefly with Jean-Martin Charcot of the Salpêtrière in Paris, Freud styled himself as an expert in hypnosis, Charcot’s specialty in the treatment of hysteria, a catchall term for women’s nervous disorders. In his Vienna practice, Freud’s advocacy of the use of cocaine and other drugs as a panacea would bring him notoriety and even disgrace—e.g., using cocaine to “cure” his friend Ernst Fleischl von Marxow of morphine addiction. Eventually, Freud became dependent on cocaine and self-administered it throughout these years of feverish writing and developing his early psychoanalytic theories. Crews carefully digs through Freud’s free-wheeling handling of facts, especially regarding the idea of “repressed memory of a sexual trauma”—e.g., the case of Bertha Pappenheim, aka Anna O. The author also reveals how many other theorists before Freud were exploring the role of the unconscious in psychoneuroses, which contradicts his self-depiction as a pioneer in the field, as well as how his editors tweaked the record. Crews comes to bury Freud, not to praise him, and he does so convincingly.

Impressively well-researched, powerfully written, and definitively damning.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-717-7

Page Count: 768

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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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

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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