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From the Publisher
"Freud, Surgery, and the Surgeons was a profoundly moving experience for me and an astonishing education. Brilliantly conceived, the book traces the fatal twining of Freud's life and ambitions around the changing image of the surgeon, and ingeniously shows how shifts in both psychoanalysis and surgery affected their views of the other's terrain. Stepansky has written an intensely moving and unfamiliar history of familiar icons and treatment motives. Absorbing in its dramatic details and thoughtful in its subtle, tragic meditation on treatment in general, this book sheds such immediate light on the origin and evolution of psychoanalytic technique and bears so directly on the sharpest controversies of our day that it demands consideration in any future exegesis of standard technique. One wonders why the project wasn't undertaken before but grateful that it waited for Stepansky's therapeutic passion and wisdom."
- Lawrence Friedman, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Cornell
"This original and stimulating study charts the rise and hitherto little known fall of the surgical analogy in Freud and psychoanalysis - the notion that psychoanalytic treatment works like the surgeon's sure removal of morbid tissue, an analogy used to bolster psychoanalytic claims to cure. Stepansky's extraordinary medical and psychiatric erudition bristles with new insights about Freud's gradual abandonment of the analogy, owing partly to his growing disillusion with analytic outcomes, his espousal of lay analysis, and his personal experience with endless, sometimes bungled surgery. Stepansky is justifiably caustic about the hubris of some of Freud's followers, Americans among them, who tried nothing less than to subordinate all of medicine to psychoanalysis. Rich with new medical and historical perspectives, Freud, Surgery, and the Surgeons includes important reassessments of the role of psychoanalysis in World War I, American analysts' attitudes toward psychosurgery, and Freud's and his major disciples' personal experiences with surgery, including its effects on their changing views of psychoanalysis as a curative science. Stepansky raises issues that no one interested in the history or practice of psychoanalysis should neglect."
- Nathan G. Hale, Jr., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of History, University of California - Riverside
“This is a splendid scholarly book, meticulously researched, beautifully written, absorbing from the first to the last page. . . .With this book, the author is not only answering questions about the surgical metaphor but making us think about this cultural, intellectual, and therapeutic adventure called psychoanalysis. He does this with a sense of impartiality and proportion that is the hallmark of the quintessential historian that he is.”
- Zvi Lothane, M.D., JAPA