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Haynal, A.E. (2008). Revolution in Mind: The Creation of Psychoanalysis by George Makari HarperCollins, New York, 2007; 624 pp; $32.50. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 89(5):1089-1093.

(2008). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 89(5):1089-1093

Revolution in Mind: The Creation of Psychoanalysis by George Makari HarperCollins, New York, 2007; 624 pp; $32.50

Review by:
André E. Haynal

Often, the cover pages of books contain exaggerated statements. This time though, this is not the case. As this volume declares, it delivers “a definitive radically new history of Freud, his disciples, and the tumultuous history” linked to them. The title of the book is well chosen. The narrative is in fact about the ‘Revolution in Mind’ fought by people who had a revolution on their mind and in their intentions. Moreover, it is “less the story of one man than it is the history of a series of heated intellectual contests”: “a way of thoughts closely allied with Freud's name” (p. 4). The narrative does indeed give a truthful image of the birth and evolution of Freudian thinking and places it in the broader context of the Central European, especially Viennese, cultural and scientific environment. In addition, it encompasses the history of the institutionalization and professionalization of psychoanalysis and highlights the interactions between psychoanalytic theory and its institutional history.

For starters, the author shows how Freud “took command of revolutions that were already in progress” (p. 5). Makari does not present either a hagiography or an attempt at Freud bashing. This is a truthful description of the complex and sometimes contradictory, tortuous ways in which this new thinking attempted to make the inner life of human beings understood. Unlike many of his predecessors, Makari does not try to re-write Jones's fundamental biography of Freud, and his work is neither an exaltation nor a depreciation of Freud's achievement.

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