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Flugel, J.C. (1947). War, Sadism and Pacifism—Further Essays on Group Psychology and War: By Edward Glover, M.D. (George Allen & Unwin, 1947. Pp. 292. Price 9 s. 6 d.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 28:117-120.

(1947). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 28:117-120

War, Sadism and Pacifism—Further Essays on Group Psychology and War: By Edward Glover, M.D. (George Allen & Unwin, 1947. Pp. 292. Price 9 s. 6 d.)

Review by:
J. C. Flugel

This is a fascinating book in the true meaning of the term, which implies a considerable measure of ambivalence. It attracts because the author has something tremendously (again in the true sense) important to say, and because we cannot help feeling that in many ways he is profoundly right. It repels because his message is in many respects intensely unwelcome and because the manner in which he delivers it provides many superficial justifications for an outbreak of the irritation which is at bottom due to the nature of the message itself.

As the main title indicates, the basic portion of the book (now called Part I) consists of the four essays first published under the same name in 1933 and reviewed in this JOURNAL, Vol. XIV, p. 420. To this are added ten 'further essays', divided into three further 'Parts', dated 1938–40, 1941–44 and 1945 respectively. Some of them are modifications of papers published or read during the periods in question, all of them dealing with various aspects of the same fundamental subject—the relation of war to the unconscious.

Owing to this arrangement there is a good deal of overlapping and repetition, of a kind that does not always help the reader to overcome his resistances and obtain a clear grasp of the author's meaning. But there are two further difficulties connected with the presentation of the message which work in the same direction. One of these is primarily cognitive; although the individual sentences and paragraphs are crystal clear and indeed in their pungent wit, often a delight to read, there is yet a certain elusive quality in the argument as a whole, so that at the end of each chapter or part the reader is apt to ask himself 'Have I really understood what the writer wishes to convey, or what he would have us do?' The second difficulty is orectic.

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