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Ekstein, R. (1987). In Freud's Shadow—Adler in Context: By Paul E. Stepansky. Hillsdale, N.J.: Analytic Press, 1983, 325 pp., $29.95.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 35:757-759.

(1987). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 35:757-759

In Freud's Shadow—Adler in Context: By Paul E. Stepansky. Hillsdale, N.J.: Analytic Press, 1983, 325 pp., $29.95.

Review by:
Rudolf Ekstein, Ph.D.

Paul Stepansky, a brilliant historian, has given us a beautiful book on the old controversy about and between Adler and Freud, a discussion not only in terms of theoretical differences, but written carefully and concisely against the historical background of their time. He writes with a thorough knowledge of the cultural milieu, the political changes and tensions from 1906, when Adler joined Freud and his group, to the breakdown of the Austrian Republic and the slow destruction of the democratic society through Fascism.

I cannot help but read the book and report about it through the eyes of someone who was there, who knew the political leaders of the time, the educators, the circles around Adler and Freud, our teachers at the University and the political life at that time. It is difficult to conceive that a man brought up in the United States could read and live himself into European intellectual history as if he had been there, and could enable me to return to this era with his book as a guide.

As I look at this title, I cannot help but wonder whether Alfred Adler stood in Freud's shadow or, whether he needed Freud, who was 14 years older than he, to grow away from, to get out of the shadow, and to be a creative man himself. Stepansky convincingly describes the struggle between Adler and Freud, the conflict within Adler to free himself from the master, to get out of his shadow, a simile Adler once used. But there were other creative contributory psychoanalysts at that time, and they did not need to leave Freud, and did not become blind disciples.

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