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Jones, K. (1959). Alfred Adler, Apostle of Freedom: By Phyllis Bottome. (London: Faber, 1957. Pp. 300. 25 s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 40:66-67.

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(1959). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 40:66-67

Alfred Adler, Apostle of Freedom: By Phyllis Bottome. (London: Faber, 1957. Pp. 300. 25 s.)

Katherine Jones

It is notoriously difficult to write a good biography, and in the field of psychology those that can claim the stamp of excellence can be counted—to quote a famous slip—on one finger. Mrs. Bottome's book on Alfred Adler does not come into the category. It is indeed less a biography than a paean of praise, and to find out the plain facts of Adler's life—surely the first requirement

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in a biography—we have to turn to one of the appendices (Prof. Birnbaum's). The more dramatic qualities of the man, however, such as 'the beautiful cadenced voice', 'the hooded penetrating eyes looking out from under heavy brows as if he understood the soul of man', and the combination of 'a fiery temper with the patience of an angel' are to be found in Mrs. Bottome's observations.

Adler (we now follow Mrs. Bottome) was not only a distinguished psychologist but equally outstanding in the fields of education and ethics. Born and brought up in one of the poorer suburbs of Vienna, the second child of Jewish parents, he became 'a Christian, to escape the isolation of Jewishness'. He decided early to become a doctor, owing apparently to the sudden death of a younger brother, so that he might have 'the mastery over death', as Prof. Birnbaum puts it. How soon the young medical student must have been disappointed! He was successful as a general practitioner, contracted a marriage with a Russian lady which after some estrangement was resumed towards the end of his life,

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