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Jurist, E. (2018). Cold War Freud: Psychoanalysis in an Age of Catastrophes: By Dagmar Herzog. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2017. pp.. Psychoanal Q., 87(3):633-638.

(2018). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 87(3):633-638

Cold War Freud: Psychoanalysis in an Age of Catastrophes: By Dagmar Herzog. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2017. pp.

Review by:
Elliot Jurist

The history of psychoanalysis is bound to look and feel differently depending upon who is telling the story. Are psychoanalysts more open to engaging with non-psychoanalysts about how they are seen? And should we imagine that being receptive to others might have an impact on our self-understanding (and possibly the future of the field)? Dagmar Herzog’s Cold War Freud presents a strong justification for the value of heeding the view from outside, and succeeds admirably in highlighting both positive and negative aspects of psychoanalysis in the post-war era.

Herzog’s cultural history of psychoanalysis spans its “heyday,” roughly from the 40s to the 80s (p. 1), paying particular attention to the “golden age” in the United States from 1949-1969 (p. 5). It also follows global vicissitudes: as psychoanalysis declined in prominence in the United States, it became more highly valued in Western Europe and Latin America (p. 7). Herzog flags some general themes throughout her study: “desire, violence and relations of power” (p. 11), and focuses on the views of a range of different theorists—some familiar, some obscure—like Karen Horney, Robert Stoller, Kurt Eissler, Alexander and Margarete Mitscherlich, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guatarri, Ernst Morgenthaler, Goldy Parin-Matthèy, and Paul Parin. While Herzog wishes to defend progressive and radical versions of psychoanalysis, she avoids partisanship and remains a fair-minded and generous reader. At the core of her perspective is the claim that psychoanalysis has both “normative-conservative and socially critical implications” (p. 2) and, thus, that it ought to be construed as “iridescent” (p. 15).

Cold War Freud begins with the emergence of the ideal of keeping psychoanalysis at a distance from the external world—Part I is entitled “Leaving the World Outside.” This was part of a strategic effort articulated by Ernest Jones at the International Psychoanalytic Association meeting in Zurich in 1949, the first such gathering in a decade.

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