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Kuriloff, E. (2009). Revelations in Psychoanalytic History A review of Revolution in Mind. The Creation of Psychoanalysis, by George Makari, 2008, HarperCollins, 613 pp. Contemp. Psychoanal., 45(4):577-580.

(2009). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 45(4):577-580

Revelations in Psychoanalytic History A review of Revolution in Mind. The Creation of Psychoanalysis, by George Makari, 2008, HarperCollins, 613 pp

Review by:
Emily Kuriloff, Psy.D.

Ernest Jones was accused of child modlestation in London, and Freud's extramarital affair with his sister-in-law, Minna Bernay, was probably more than mere speculation. Such revelations provide salacious satisfaction for even the most well-informed reader of George Makari's Revolution in Mind, a work chronicling the birth and formative years of Psychoanalysis. If, however, a serious student asks, Why do we need yet another book about our history? the answer lies in Makari's placing the “new science” within the context of the rich, mercurial, and ultimately tragic times in which it evolved. In doing so, Makari not only offers fresh insights but also disabuses his readers of many commonly held notions. We learn that, beginning with Freud's student days and ending with a telling epilogue of the fate of psychoanalysis after World War II, metapsychology did not simply spring unaided from the mind of Freud as Athena from the head of Zeus, nor were its principles limited to shibboleths or set rules of engagement.

Makari's tale unfolds not with Freud as innovator but, rather, as the consummate synthesizer of late 19th-century trends in neurology and science. The widely held belief in psychic causation, a mechanistic psychophysics measuring the effects of bodily substances on mental states, and the notion of an innate motivation that sexologists and Darwinians of the time saw as bedrock, were brought together by Freud in his theory of libido (p. 120).

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