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Eder, M.D. (1931). The Human Mind: By Karl A. Menninger. (New York and London Alfred A. Knopf, 1930. Pp. 447. Price.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 12:238-239.

(1931). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 12:238-239

The Human Mind: By Karl A. Menninger. (New York and London Alfred A. Knopf, 1930. Pp. 447. Price.)

Review by:
M. D. Eder

If this book represents, as the author claims in his Preface, 'approximately the views of the younger group in American psychiatry', we should welcome an American team headed by Dr. Menninger for some much-needed pioneering work among the younger psychiatrists in this country; let the older schools of psychiatrists, whatever their chronological age, we agree with Dr. Menninger, be allowed to suffer painless extinction without any cruel attempts to keep them alive a few years longer by hypodermic, intravenous or intradural injections of recent stimulating theories.

America sends us its teams of bridge, polo, golf, tennis players; we do not like being beaten by American golfers, but no real Briton will feel ashamed of American superiority in psychiatry; the British justly pride themselves on intellectual backwardness.

Dr. Menninger acknowledges the late Dr. Southard as having inspired his work; if so, he was certainly happy in that he died before seeing the fruit of his inspiration, and the shades of Dr. Southard will be uneasy if they come to recognize that the real source of this work is Freud's theory of the Unconscious, and Freud's dynamic conception of the mental apparatus.

Dr. Menninger's book is written for the general reader, for those unversed in the human mind, which includes of course not only the average layman, but the great majority of the medical profession. It must be in deference to the presumed difficulties of the medical profession in grasping technical terms that Dr. Menninger largely avoids such technical terms and technical language. It is not a difficulty that the non-medical reader seems to experience—witness the large circulation of works on physics and astronomics where it is assumed that the reader will not require such careful protection from some mental effort.

Ease of reading is certainly obtained in Dr. Menninger's book, but at the expense of much simplification of the problems and often a slurring over of the real difficulties of some of the problems—or their complete omission. Nevertheless, much is included, and the general principles are freshly stated with illustrations drawn from cases under telling headings: The Man Who Is Always Dull; The Scoffer; The Setter of Fires; The Man-haters.


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