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Roazen, P. (1985). Fury on Earth: A Biography of Wilhelm Reich. Myron Sharaf. New York: St Martin's Press/Marek, 1983, xiii + 550 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 72(4):668-671.

(1985). Psychoanalytic Review, 72(4):668-671

Fury on Earth: A Biography of Wilhelm Reich. Myron Sharaf. New York: St Martin's Press/Marek, 1983, xiii + 550 pp.

Review by:
Paul Roazen

Wilhelm Reich is one of the most popularly known of the many prophets to have emerged from within psychoanalysis. A steady stream of books about Reich in recent years has helped satisfy the public's legitimate curiosity about him. So far the best of them is Reich's son Peter's poetic memoirs, A Book of Dreams. Yet Myron Sharafs Fury on Earth is far and away the finest book both on Reich's work and his life. It is a work of scholarship that may well, until the Reich Archives are finally opened, remain definitive on the subject.

The history of Freud and his circle has by now become a scholarly industry. Because of the persistence of sectarianism, though, it is not as easy as it should be to understand the growth of the tradition of depth psychology. Aside from the continuing fascination with the founder of psychoanalysis, biographies of his followers—and the “heretics”— are steadily being published. Within the last year or so Bertin's Marie Bonaparte, Brome's Ernest Jones, and biographies on Adler, Jung, and Karen Horney have appeared. The most sophisticated biography is one by Perry about the eccentric and original Harry Stack Sullivan, who had an immense impact on American psychiatry and social science. Otto Rank has also been reassessed by Menaker, and a sound biography by James Lieberman has recently been published.

Reich is remarkable in that all his books, even the ones from the early 1920s, have been recently reprinted. He has also had the honor of the appearance of pirated editions of his The Mass Psychology of Fascism, a book which anticipated the more widely cited Escape from Freedom by Fromm and The Authoritarian Personality by Adorno and his colleagues.

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