FINAL ANALYSIS: The Making and Unmaking of a Psychoanalyst by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
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FINAL ANALYSIS: The Making and Unmaking of a Psychoanalyst

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Masson, already the self. styled scourge of psychoanalysis for his manhandling of the master in The Assault on Truth: Freud's Suppression of the Seduction Theory (1984), which unleashed a storm of protest and critical debate (for example, Janet Malcolm's In the Freud Archives, 1984, which Masson answered with lawsuits), now goes tooth and claw after the institution itself in this partial autobiography. Masson details abuses, excesses, and especially his own mistreatment while training to become an analyst--all of which led to his disenchantment with the profession. One has to marvel at Masson's perfect hindsight, which enables him to summon forth a veritable litany of complaints against the powers that be in contemporary psychoanalysis. From his initial encounter prior to acceptance as a candidate at the Toronto Psychoanalytic Institute, when an interviewer asked him point-blank, ""Have you been faithful to your wife?"" to his last gasp as Projects Director of the Sigmund Freud Archives, as he shook the foundations by challenging Freud's take on child abuse and seduction fantasy, here is a lively, juicy account in which only some of the names have been changed to protect the guilty. Masson's own slippery persona is an integral part of this exercise in finger-pointing, and he lays it on thick as he reveals his own culpability and willingness to play the game, out of a deep-seated need to wield power and share the spoils of what he calls ""the men's club."" His recounting of the atmosphere in Anna Freud's inner circle, replete with intrigue and sexual tension, has all of the compassion of an autopsy report, but considerably more involvement, as the venom fairly drips from every thumbnail sketch. Catty and calculating, but nevertheless a fascinating insider's view, certain to create almost as much of a stink as his last effort to set the psychoanalytic record straight.

Pub Date: Nov. 2nd, 1990
Publisher: Addison-Wesley