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Freud: Inventor Of The Modern Mind (eminent Lives)

by Peter D. Kramer
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Harper Perennial
  • Publishing date: 01/11/2009
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780061768897
  • ISBN: 0061768898

Synopsis

Often referred to as "the father of psychoanalysis," Sigmund Freud championed the "talking cure" and charted the human unconscious. But though Freud compared himself to Copernicus and Darwin, his history as a physician is problematic. Historians have determined that Freud often misrepresented the course and outcome of his treatments—so that the facts would match his theories. Today Freud's legacy is in dispute, his commentators polarized into two camps: one of defenders; the other, fierce detractors.

Peter D. Kramer, himself a practicing psychiatrist and a leading national authority on mental health, offers a new take on this controversial figure, one both critical and sympathetic. He recognizes that although much of Freud's thought is now archaic, the discipline he invented has become an inescapable part of our culture, transforming the way we see ourselves. Freud was a myth-maker, a storyteller, a writer whose books will survive among the classics of our literature. The result of Kramer's inquiry is nothing less than a new standard history of Freud by a modern master of his thought.

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  • Short, readable, objective
    From Amazon

    This is an excellent, objective, and readable evaluation of the work and legacy of Sigmund Freud. Those who put this in the "Freud bashing" category appear not to desire an objective evaluation of Freud as a clinician nor as a scientist: Kramer presents the reader with such in a lively and precise way. He also presents the impact that Freud's ideas had on Western culture, and it is here where the impact of Freud is beyond question. Whether this impact has been for ill or good is open to question, speaking generally or more specifically in psychiatric and psychological science.

  • Was Freud a fraud?
    From Amazon

    No, he wasn't. But he was much more an imaginative investigator, something of a literary and romantic writer more than a scientist, not at all what people imagine. Like Marx before him, many of his theories can be refuted but his influence and insight remain valuable. Marx and Freud will remain important critics of traditional society and of the bourgeois order which poorly replaced it. The truths they taught were less literally true than insightfully stimlulating for all time. Peter Kramer is at once an admirer and a critic of Freud who has, however, a perfect right to be both, but he fails to write a really persuasive apercu of Freud. Kramer knows his Freud and his psychology but he is not firm in historical knowledge. The book does not impress.

  • Freud's frauds were not the true measure of the man
    From Amazon

    The "Eminent Lives" series has some great writing and equally good research into some of the most significant people to walk the Earth (with the exception of Armstrong's book on Mohammed). Kramer does a good job of taking Freud off the pedestal that many have used to create an altar for an atheist. But by showing Freud to be a mere human, he goes out of his way to point out his opinion that Freud, with all his faults, was "The Inventor of the Modern Mind." While I don't personally agree with Kramer's evaluation of Freud any more than I did with a lot of his opinions in his "Listening to Prozac" book, this is a book worth reading to get a far better balanced view of a man who was responsible for much of our modern day vocabulary in dealing with our fellow humans. Freud had a lot of dumb ideas, was a shameless self-promoter, ignored his own research, invented and lied about the complex nature of some of his patients, but at the end of the day, as Kramer points out, was one of the humans to leave the Earth with a net plus on his life ledger. Unfortunately some of his patients paid the price of his opinions with their lives in ruins, but it will be up to your own value system to determine whether this was worth it. After all, many Clinton supporters agree with his view that the lives of a million Tutsi were not worth the life of a single American as he allowed the most intense genocide in the history of mankind in the modern era to occur on his watch. His approval ratings must make him "right." If you don't want to buy this book and see it in a bookstore, just take five minutes to read the last chapter to see that Kramer holds Freud in high regard using this measuring stick. This is not a "five-star" book, but i gave it that rating to balance the superficial reviews by Freud groupies who read this book with blinders on, if they read it at all.

  • Smug Hatchet Job
    From Amazon

    Kramer purports to be an admirer of Freud, but this is a wholesale dismissal of his work, citing a number of misdiagnosed cases in Freud's later years. Writing in the name of clinical science, Kramer tells us that Freud is in need of radical re-evalutation, since he was unscientific in his approach to human behavior. This is the worst kind of reductionism, ignoring Freud's enormous contribution to the humanities. Modern literary criticism (e.g. the new critics) and poetry, not to mention sociology and anthropology, would be impossible today had not Freud written "The Interpretation of Dreams." Freud is to modern literary and social analysis what Darwin is to biological science. Poets like William Blake and Yeats would be incomprehensible without the analytic techniques and tools provided by Freud, and the great thinker and media analyst, Marshall McLuhan, to name but one distinguished disciple among many, was Freudian through and through.

  • excellent expose'
    From Amazon

    Kramer's lucid writing style is refreshing.This small volume will give the reader a critical review of Freud's major writings. Highlights of Freud's biography add spice to the narrative. Kramer uses our contemporary knowledge in psychiatry to rediagnose some of Freud's patients.I got a deeper understanding of some of the famous cases like Anna O,Dora, the Wolf Man the Rat Man. Like many, Kramer agrees that Freuds impact on the development of the field of psychotherapy and psychological thinking have been hugh. Freud was not perfect.This book help highlight the imperfections. More than that,it helps clarify in a short space, work that took Freud years and years to develop and 23 volumes of the Standard edition to Express.Like Freud,Kramer is a very talented writer as this and his other four volumes show.

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