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Summers, F. (1997). Freud And Beyond: A History Of Modern Psychoanalytic Thought. By Stephen A. Mitchell and Margaret J.Black. New York: Basic Books, 1995, 293 pp., $27.50.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 45:605-610.

(1997). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 45:605-610

Freud And Beyond: A History Of Modern Psychoanalytic Thought. By Stephen A. Mitchell and Margaret J.Black. New York: Basic Books, 1995, 293 pp., $27.50.

Review by:
Frank Summers

This volume is clearly designed to bring the various currents of psychoanalytic thinking to the educated public. The authors hope to provide a readable, understandable statement of the major trends in psychoanalytic thought in order to dispel the myths that psychoanalysis is primarily the work of Freud, is an esoteric cult inaccessible to the public, is out of fashion, and has changed little from Freud's day. These goals are laudable, and the text is written in a style perfectly suited to their achievement. The authors steer clear of jargon, and the writing flows in a smooth, almost conversational style, rich with well-chosen metaphors. The copious clinical examples render the theoretical discussions vivid and concrete. In brief, the authors provide a model of good psychoanalytic writing for the educated public.

The first seven chapters cover the major trends of psychoanalytic history, and the final two chapters are devoted to controversies in theory and technique. Despite the clear interpersonal bent of the authors, they largely succeed in being evenhanded in their treatment of each theory and in their final summarizing discussions of the issues, although at times they allow their own views to blur the meaning of the theorist under discussion. Because the book is a survey of one hundred years of psychoanalytic theory, the trends covered are necessarily somewhat cursory and oversimplified.

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