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Vorchheimer, M. (2017). From Ultrasound to Army: The Unconscious Trajectories of Masculinity in Israel, by Hanni Mann-Shalvi, Karnac, 2016. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 7(2):231-233.

(2017). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 7(2):231-233

From Ultrasound to Army: The Unconscious Trajectories of Masculinity in Israel, by Hanni Mann-Shalvi, Karnac, 2016

Review by:
Mónica Vorchheimer

In From Ultrasound to Army, Hanni Mann-Shalvi’s moving book, the psychoanalyst shares theoretical and clinical thoughts arising from her doctoral research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. From her personal experience as a psychotherapist living in Israel, she is sensitive to parents’ difficulties in setting boundaries for their children—particularly for their sons; her investigation focuses on whether the processes of parenting sons in the State of Israel are influenced by parents’ knowledge of their sons’ compulsory draft at the age of eighteen. Her book explores whether knowledge of the requirement to enlist and that their lives may be in danger creates an emotional burden that affects and shapes parenting patterns, as well as the unique patterns of masculinity and femininity that characterise Israeli society. Her study delves into psychoanalytic findings that suggest that Israeli history—fraught with existential threats—stamps the psychic fabric of its people, intra-psychically, inter-psychically and transsubjectively.

This book is based on interviews with couples and data from Mann-Shalvi’s clinical practice, and it is beautifully interwoven with biblical sources, mythology, history, literature, journalism, and cultural sources that enrich and widen its scope.

The reality of raising children in the shadow of the fear of death, as happens in Israeli society, has many consequences that the author explores in depth: she considers questions of parenting, couple development, and identity.

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