A fascinating, carefully researched study of the origins of Carl Jung's highly original, influential version of human psychology, and a work likely to generate intense debate. Noll's (History of Science/Harvard) goal here seems to be to deepen and expand arguments put forth in his previous work (The Jung Cult, not reviewed) that Jung didn't so much intend to develop a new form of psychoanalysis as to create a new pagan religion, one that was a unique (and alarming) blend of ``German mysticism, Hellenistic paganism, and Gnosticism,'' colored by Jung's growing anti-Semitism. Noll focuses primarily on the first two decades of the century, the period that saw Jung aggressively shape his revolutionary theories and break with Freud (he had been Freud's chosen successor). He traces in great detail Jung's fascination with the many arcane schools of mysticism current in northern Europe at that time, uncovering groups, books, and some bizarre would-be prophets, and he demonstrates the ways in which Jung incorporated their teachings into his theories. He also stresses the importance of a little-known incident in 1913 during which Jung, after repeatedly inducing a trancelike state, imagined that ``his head changed into a lion and he became a god.'' This occurrence, Noll argues, is a central event in Jung's life, validating for the Swiss thinker the idea that he was a pagan savior, sent to summon Aryan culture back from the failed religion of Christianity (``a Jewish religion,'' Noll describes Jung's view, ``that was cruelly imposed on the pagan peoples of Europe''). All of this is bound to be intensely controversial, and Noll doesn't help his case by a sometimes scattershot approach. Still, there is much here that's hard to refute, and the image of Jung that emerges from this thoughtful study is deeply disturbing. (For another view of Jung, see Frank McLynn, Carl Gustav Jung, p. TKTK.) Surely not the final word, but nonetheless an important, angry work of historical revisionism. (photo insert, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-679-44945-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1997

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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 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

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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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