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Dollard, J. (1936). Roots of Crime: By Franz Alexander and William Healy. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1935. 305 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 5:116-119.

(1936). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 5:116-119

Roots of Crime: By Franz Alexander and William Healy. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1935. 305 pp.

Review by:
John Dollard

Of special importance for the fate of psychoanalysis are its interlinking with alien disciplines and its serviceability to fields other than that of individual therapy. Doctors Alexander and Healy have ingeniously and creatively coöperated to increase the usefulness of the science in both of these respects.

Out of the great number of persons who have been treated and followed for years by the Judge Baker Guidance Center, eleven delinquents were selected who manifested an interest in a psychoanalysis. Seven of these received treatment, the longest for a period of about ten months and the shortest an exploratory study of about a month. The other four refused to coöperate after introductory interviews. The striking factor of the research is the confrontation of the material derived from these analyses with the facts already known about the offenders through the Guidance Center records, the latter facts derived from probation officers, social workers, medical examiners, psychiatrists, judges, and psychologists. Like a magnet passing over a field of iron filings the analytical study gives form and orientation to the disordered materials gained from these various points of view. This fact must be enough to recommend the book to any student of psychoanalysis.

The technique of reporting the cases included an introductory summary from Guidance Center records, a brief but pregnant resumé of the analytical findings, a confrontation of the two types of material, where each is found in fact to illuminate the other, and finally an epilogue tracing the career of the studied person after the analysis. It is valuable to have so complete a description of the conditions of the research as the authors give us.

It has been one of the inevitable defects of the psychoanalytic interview, regarded as a research technique, that auxiliary information about the actual life and social setting of the person must necessarily be missing. In just such cases as those studied by Alexander and Healy this missing social setting and outsider's history of the career are supplied.

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