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Biddle, S. (1936). Wayward Youth: By August Aichhorn. With a foreword by Sigmund Freud and a note by the editors. Translated by Elizabeth Bryant, Julia Deming, Mary O'Neil Hawkins, George J. Mohr, Esther J. Mohr, Helen Ross and Hildegarde Thun. New York: The Viking Press, 1935. 236 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 5:119-131.

(1936). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 5:119-131

Wayward Youth: By August Aichhorn. With a foreword by Sigmund Freud and a note by the editors. Translated by Elizabeth Bryant, Julia Deming, Mary O'Neil Hawkins, George J. Mohr, Esther J. Mohr, Helen Ross and Hildegarde Thun. New York: The Viking Press, 1935. 236 pp.

Review by:
Sydney Biddle

Wayward Youth is a translation of the German title, Verwahrloste Jugend, whose English equivalent is hard to define. It includes, as the author explains, not "merely delinquent and dissocial children, but also so-called problem children and others suffering from neurotic symptoms". Indeed, the cases presented in the first half of the book belong largely to the latter class. Until we come to the discussion of children at the training school, we find scarcely any examples of typical delinquents such as are known in this country in the juvenile courts. This is noteworthy because the theoretical part of the book attempts a scientific formulation of delinquency which shall serve as a ground-work for treatment. The formulation is based, to a great extent, on psychoanalytic concepts.

The book is an orientation rather than a treatise, and its style is suggestive rather than authoritative. What Aichhorn says about one of his co-workers at the training school applies in general to his intuitive method of working: "The science of education has nothing to offer him in this respect, … the worker must be able to live himself into the situation so that these experiences become his." It is not that the subject matter resists interpretation, but that the nature of the task is dynamic rather than analytic. It requires immediate decision translated into action from the start. In his method of handling a new case, this is emphasized by the author from the first interview: "I consider this first moment of our coming together of the utmost importance.

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