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Harris, H.I. (1950). The Abnormal Personality: By Robert W. White, Ph.D. New York: The Ronald Press Co., 1948. 613 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 19:258-260.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:258-260

The Abnormal Personality: By Robert W. White, Ph.D. New York: The Ronald Press Co., 1948. 613 pp.

Review by:
Herbert I. Harris

This book is well written and well balanced. The information in it is valuable, and presented with a completeness consistent with a textbook in clinical psychology. While one could cavil at the title, since considerable portions of some of the chapters deal not at all with the abnormal personality, the title is well chosen and the book begins and ends on a note consistent with it. Teaching psychology with this as a text should prove an informative and interesting task, and the reviewer will not be surprised if it is used as a text in many colleges and universities.

The substance of the book is for the most part objectively handled, and controversial questions discussed with a pleasing degree of fairness. One might question some minor matters in so far as they show a subjective rather than an objective approach on the part of the author. For example, he finds it difficult to accept the importance of sexuality in family relationships. This quaint touch of Victorianism seems quite out of place in a book which handles most of the areas of the abnormal personality with such clarity.

His discussions of fantasy, dreams and hypnotic behavior are interesting and instructive. One misses the discussion of a symptom which is becoming of increasing interest in the present day, namely that of depersonalization. Since this symptom has long been studied and discussed by psychoanalysts, it is surprising that more elaboration of it has not been undertaken by the author in connection with this chapter.

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