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Zabarenko, L.M. (1998). The Talking Cures. The Psychoanalyses and the Psychotherapies. By Robert S. Wallerstein. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1995. Pp. 587 + xx.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 79:621-623.
    

(1998). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 79:621-623

The Talking Cures. The Psychoanalyses and the Psychotherapies. By Robert S. Wallerstein. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1995. Pp. 587 + xx.

Review by:
Lucy M. Zabarenko

Being asked to review a book by Robert Wallerstein is like a request to comment on altruism in the good fairy of the North or aggression in Attila the Hun. It evokes questions about the editor's motivations. Does he harbour a conscious or unconscious hostility for the reviewer? Has he searched for a colleague he hopes will speak the unvarnished truth? Is he looking for something sensational or just different?

The reason for these musings is, of course, that the author is as close as we come to an icon in contemporary psychoanalysis. An amalgam of Samuel Johnson, Ben Franklin and Ludwig von Kochel, Robert Wallerstein has been our discipline's dogged biographer, its consummate diplomatic emissary, a hard-working politician and tireless cataloguer of its scientific and professional balance sheets. In The Talking Cures he endows us with a saga of his ideational and conceptual journeys, an enterprise of prodigious scope. The volume is exhaustive enough to be an encyclopaedia, clearly organised enough to put most texts to shame and replete with such thorough summaries of currents of thought that most historians would be envious.

This much said and the impossible mission of a review accepted, readers are entitled to one which applies the criteria incumbent on all literary products: does the book do what the author had in mind? What might it be used for and how? Is it fun to read and under what circumstances? And how well does it shoulder its way through the usual crowd of practicalities such as: will it fit in a briefcase, is it readily parsed and does the level of discourse make it accessible to a wide range of professionals without boring analytic practitioners and teachers?

There's little doubt about the first of these criteria.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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