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Derosis, L.E. (1949). Power and Personality. By Harold Dwight Lasswell, Ph.D. 262 pp. 1948. W. W. Norton. $3.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 9(1):78-80.

(1949). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 9(1):78-80

Power and Personality. By Harold Dwight Lasswell, Ph.D. 262 pp. 1948. W. W. Norton. $3.

Review by:
Louis E. Derosis, M.D.

In Power and Personality Professor Lass-well has brought together his Salmon Memorial Lectures. He has undertaken a huge and very important task—the task of finding ways of implementing the development of democratic leadership. The trends of the times, the emergence of newer and more efficient ways of being destructive make such work necessary and immediately imperative. Any voice, no matter how it speaks—so long as it speaks the cause of human dignity—is of momentous importance. Dr. Lasswell's book does this eloquently and more. For he not only offers many positive ways of making the democratic way workable, but he also raises many more issues than he answers. In this way his book becomes a highly provocative work, which is the spirit that must obtain if democracy is to be kept alive. Democracy is not a state of being but a process which must be eternally nurtured if it is to be had at all. This spirit pervades the book. It is a piece of living democracy in the reading.

In approaching the problem the author makes use of historical as well as of present-day data to demonstrate how all the data may be re-evaluated in the light of recent advances in the social, psychological, and medical sciences. Although his interest is in the relationships between the elected and the electorate, the empowered and the empowering, he also focuses upon the problem of the self. He regards the self as including “more than the primary ego,” referring to his irreducible “I,” “me.” “The self takes in whatever is included with the primary ego as belonging with it.”

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