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Lehrman, P.R. (1954). A History of Psychoanalysis in America: By Clarence P. Oberndorf, M.D. New York: Grune & Stratton, Inc., 1953. 280 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 23:263-265.

(1954). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 23:263-265

A History of Psychoanalysis in America: By Clarence P. Oberndorf, M.D. New York: Grune & Stratton, Inc., 1953. 280 pp.

Review by:
Philip R. Lehrman

Dr. Oberndorf tells us that he was encouraged to write this book by colleagues, especially his younger ones, of whom 'a few even seemed to regard it as something of an obligation'. This is understandable, for 'Oby' has participated in the growth of psychoanalysis since its first serious clinical application in this country in 1909 at Manhattan State Hospital, New York. He draws upon abundant experience—as hospital psychiatrist, editor, teacher, practitioner at desk or couch, President of the New York Psychoanalytic Society (of which he is the only surviving founder-member), President of the American Psychoanalytic Association—to present to us history as it was made at dinners and meetings, the published proceedings of which are, as he tells us, 'far indeed … from the vital interplay of personalities and opinions' in which he shared.

At the age of twenty-seven Dr. Oberndorf studied the work of Freud, of which he says 'no day has since passed in my professional life without resorting to it for an illumination of some obscure thought, action, or symptom. And to the writings of Freud one must revert for the essence of dynamic psychiatry. When I return to read his pages, especially in the original, I am still thrilled by the clarity, conciseness, boldness and penetration of his simplest clinical discussions. To Freud's discoveries I owe whatever effectiveness I possess as a psychiatrist.'

Not only does Dr.

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