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Bruno Bettelheim: The Other Side of Madness Hardcover – November 16, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 532 pages
  • Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd (November 16, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0715626876
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715626870
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,164,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Charles Pekow on October 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
Unfortunately, this is a case of an author who had a preconceived notion about the subect of her biography and refused to change it in spite of the evidence. People often don't change their ideas when they are discredited -- a notion the Freudians say applies to everyone but themselves -- but ironiclly applies to them as much as anyone.

I was at the Orthogenic School Sutton writes about and she interviewed me for the article. I have never been so badly mispreresented or misquoted nor so blatently lied to by an author, though I have been quoted many times in may places about many subjects. Despite the evidence that Bettelheim falsified his research, cruelly treated his wards and advocated sham "cures" for "disturbed" children that actually did them more harm than good, she struggled to paint a positive picture of him.

The author also fell into another trap that the psychoanalytically-inclined are prone to: thinking they know better what someone else thinks than the individual does. She promised me I could control what she said about me in the book. Then she proceeded to print all sorts of unsourced untruths about me -- presenting as fact lies about what I did and how I supposedly felt. I was victimized by Bettelheim and again by Sutton. As the late Barry Goldwater said after his presidential campaign, "if I didn't know Goldwater and had to rely on the press for my information, I would have voted against the son-of-a-bitch myself."

The author is dishonest, the book is not accurate and should not be read or believed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mira de Vries on July 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
Bruno Bettelheim's name is infamous among parents of autistic children. Presumably he coined the term "refrigerator mothers," blaming autism on the cold behavior of the autistic child's mother. (To this day, it is widely assumed that only children are autistic. I don't know what people think happens to autistics when they turn into adults.) It took a doctor named Rimland, who had an autistic son, to famously challenge this view. Not that mothers had not protested such injustice before, but doctors are simply taken more seriously by other doctors. Rimland himself turned into a quack peddling megavitamins for the supposed cure of autism. As for Bettelheim, according to Sutton, his biographer, when he realized he could not cure autism, he stopped accepting autistic "patients" for treatment at his "school."

In spite of his being famous for it, the term "refrigerator mother" appears nowhere in the biography. Rimland is mentioned briefly as an opponent of Bettelheim's methods. Ironically, although Bettelheim mis-identified the cause of autism, his proposed "cure" was no doubt indeed the best way to care for autistic children, as well as all other children. If Sutton's description is correct, then during the three decades that Bettelheim directed the "Orthogenic School" in Chicago, the care involved lots of individual attention, acceptance of children the way they were, and no psychoactive drugs. Ironically Bettelheim himself spent the last years of his life taking antidepressants.

Sutton seems to have researched Bettelheim's life thoroughly. Yet the inclusion of remarks about Bettelheim's thoughts, feelings, motives, and moods, as though she were psychoanalyzing him, constantly raises the question, "Is this true?
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