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Posted December 22, 2000
exposing the humanity and error of a legend and his legacy
this is a book that invites controversy, not because it intends to, but because it exposes the secular high priest of modern psychiatry, Sigmund Freud, as a mere mortal, capable of a lapse of moral courage, and subject to the peer pressures of his time and place. The author presents scholarly (Masson was past president of the Freudian archives) evidence that Freud knew that the sexual abuse of young females caused many of the predominate sexual and emotional disorders among women. Yet he abandoned this tenet, apparently for no other reason than it's unpopularity, and instead adopted his sexual-fantasy theory that, contends Masson, has diluted the efficacy of psychiatric dogma and treatment down to this day. Also controversial because it hints at Freud's bisexuality, and his overt malpractice in at least one well-documented case, the book nevertheless is not an attack on Freud, but rather, an attempt to flesh out the legend with a factual persona based on extensive research and documentation. Masson has been the victim of virulent personal attacks for his position, and for the publishing of certain controversial and previously unpublished letters of Freud's. For this reason, he almost goes overboard in documenting his case, and it is a very persuasive, if disturbing, argument that he presents. Thought-provoking material for those interested in helping to heal the wounds of child-abuse through contemporary psychiatric treatment.
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