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Carstairs, G.M. (1970). Gandhi's Truth: On the Origins of Militant Non-Violence: By Erik Erikson. London: Faber & Faber; New York: Norton. 1969. Pp. 474.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 51:546-549.

(1970). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 51:546-549

Gandhi's Truth: On the Origins of Militant Non-Violence: By Erik Erikson. London: Faber & Faber; New York: Norton. 1969. Pp. 474.

Review by:
G. M. Carstairs

Erik Erikson's approach in this book is frankly, and deliberately, personal. From the opening pages, he does not hesitate to describe his own experiences and his own reactions during the time he was carrying out the research and the interviews on which his extended essay on Gandhi has been based. This tempts the present reviewer to similar self-revelations in the belief that they must influence his review, just as Erikson's relationships with his informants and his feelings towards the Mahatma must have influenced his approach to his theme.

It was in 1949, during a fellowship year in the U.S.A., that I first made the acquaintance both of Erik Erikson (then teaching at Berkeley, where he was soon to display his courage by refusing on principle to take the 'loyalty oath' which was being imposed on university faculty members) and of the Sarabhai family which figures so prominently in this book. I remember Erikson as a calm, cheerful, life-enhancing man, who took a friendly interest in my plans for fieldwork on culture and personality. I brashly noted in my diary at the time that this was the first psychoanalyst I had met with whom I should willingly undergo analysis. We did not meet again for years, but he sent me a copy of Childhood and Society, and I was able to reciprocate later with my monograph on personality development among high-caste Hindus.

By the time we met again, five years ago, Erikson's papers had become required reading for my postgraduate students, and Young Man Luther had been acclaimed throughout the world.

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