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Soldz, S. (1990). The Challenge of the Borderline Patient Competency in Diagnosis and Treatment by Jerome Kroll New York: W. W. Norton, 1988, xvi + 237 pp., $24.95. Psa. Books, 1(3):388-391.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Books, 1(3):388-391

The Challenge of the Borderline Patient Competency in Diagnosis and Treatment by Jerome Kroll New York: W. W. Norton, 1988, xvi + 237 pp., $24.95

Review by:
Stephen Soldz, Ph.D.

One can have various criteria for evaluating a book. One can consider whether the author describes his or her subject in a clear, concise, and interesting manner. The book can be evaluated in terms of whether it presents new, unique insights into a subject of importance. A reader can, alternatively, determine if the author agrees with one's point of view regarding the subject dealt with. One of my favorite criteria for book evaluation is whether the book stimulates me to think new thoughts while reading it.

Judged by many of these criteria, Jerome Kroll's new book on borderlines is a worthwhile contribution to the literature. It is, however, the last criterion, that of stimulating new thoughts, that causes me to recommend this work strongly. Kroll has written an opinionated, strongly argued, polemical work that cannot help but arouse new thoughts in any but the most dogmatic reader. One may not agree with Kroll's positions but will almost certainly feel challenged to reconsider many beliefs regarding this topical and controversial area.

In many ways this book is really two distinct books. Book one is a discussion of the nature and diagnosis of borderline disorders. Surprisingly for a clinical work, the first chapter is entitled “The Politics and Economics of the Borderline Diagnosis.” In this chapter Kroll argues, I think correctly, that “it is impossible to understand why the present borderline configuration looks as it does without first understanding the historical conflicts and compromises which went into its development and definition” (p. 10).

[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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