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Madness and pathos alternate in these selections from the controversial psychoanalyst's (18971957) papers, which document the scientific delusions and personal difficulties that preoccupied him from the mid-1930s through his immigration to America on the eve of WW II. Because materials remain missing, this sequel to 1988's Passion of Youth: An Autobiography, 18971922 begins in 1934. In the intervening years of 192333, Reich's studies of the function of the orgasm and of genital sexuality's effects on character found him moving from psychoanalysis toward physiology and biology. Settling in Oslo, Reich put his radical political activism on the back burner while beginning a new program of experiments to examine nothing less than the fundamental energies of life. The excerpts from his journals and letters collected here form a streamlined narrative of his struggles to gain recognition for the theories to which this work gave rise. Reich believed that his insights represented ``the greatest discovery of the century.'' Readers need not be molecular biologists, however, to be skeptical of this claim: The laboratory jottings reproduced here seem like so much hocus-pocus. Meanwhile, Reich's ravings (``the living arises from the nonliving!!'') escape the lab to infect his accounts of a disintegrating home life. He can't seem to reflect personally on sex without proclaiming, ``My theory is correct!'' His children remain alienated from him, and his lover leaves him, but Reich consoles himself with the idea that his suffering is that of a man of genius. With his 1939 ``discovery'' of orgone, Reich seems to have gone over the edge for sure: ``I yearn for a beautiful woman with no sexual anxieties who will just take me! Have inhaled too much orgone radiation.'' At this point, the deepening shadow of Nazi expansion forces the Jewish and communist Reich's emigration to a credulous New York. Reich comes across as a crank, but a human figure all the same. Ideal material for a screenplay about a 20th-century mad scientist.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-374-11247-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1994

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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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