In 1896, Sigmund Freud presented his revolutionary “seduction theory,” arguing that acts of sexual abuse and violence inflicted on children are the direct cause of adult mental illness. Nine years later, Freud completely reversed his position, insisting that these sexual memories were actually fantasies that never happened. Why did Freud retract the seduction theory? And why has the psychoanalytic community gone to such lengths to conceal that retraction? In this landmark book, drawing on his unique access to formerly sealed and hidden papers, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson dares to uncover the truth about this critical turning point in Freud’s career and its enduring impact on the theory and practice of psychoanalysis. ??
The Assault on Truth reveals a reality that neither Freud nor his followers could bear to face. Bracing in its honesty, gripping in its revelations, this is the book that prompted Masson’s break with the psychoanalytic community—and launched his subsequent brilliant career as an independent thinker and writer.
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About the Author
Hometown:Auckland, New Zealand
Date of Birth:March 28, 1941
Place of Birth:Chicago, Illinois
Education:B.A., Harvard, 1964; Toronto Institute of Psychoanalysis, 1978, Ph.D. in Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard, 1970
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.