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Silverberg, W.V. (1949). Psychiatry: Its Evolution and Present Status. Psychoanal Q., 18:370-372.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:370-372

Psychiatry: Its Evolution and Present Status

Review by:
William V. Silverberg

By William C. Menninger, M.D. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1948. 138 pp.

YOU AND PSYCHIATRY. By William C. Menninger and Munro Leaf. New York and London: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1948. 168 pp.

The two volumes are additions to the growing body of literature which expounds psychiatry and psychoanalysis to the general public: the former, the Messenger Lectures delivered at Cornell University in the fall of 1947, is directed to the college educated group; while the latter, as regards language and style, seems geared to the intelligent G.I., therefore to the high school educated.

The first book consists of three lectures: one containing a much condensed history of psychiatry plus an account of its current position with relation to the social sciences and other disciplines and techniques; one on the psychoanalytic theory of personality and of neurosis; and one on the place and function of psychiatry in the social order. Of these, the last is very good indeed: the author's heart is in it, and it is imbued with a profound love of humanity and hope for its future. Here the voluminous experience acquired in the author's war activities, and the broad social attitude developed therein, contribute importantly to the authenticity and sincerity of the presentation. In a world beset by 'countless social problems', uneasy, restless, immature in its absorption with self and its blindness toward the misery of distant others, Dr. Menninger feels that psychiatry can contribute to their solution by stressing the need for greater maturity of the individual and by teaching him how to achieve it.

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