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The Psychology Of The Sopranos Love, Death,, Desire And Betrayal In America's Favorite Gangster Family Hardcover – July 9, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Inside `The Sopranos'In The Psychology of The Sopranos: Love, Death, Desire and Betrayal in America's Favorite Gangster Family, psychoanalyst Glen O. Gabbard puts into words what millions of people discuss every week around office water coolers. In chapters titled "Bada Bing and Nothingness" and "Scenes From a Marriage: Godfather Knows Best," Gabbard who coleads an online Sopranos chat group on that has an audience of over 100,000 analyzes the psyche of the mob family. Despite its lack of revelatory information (e.g., most viewers have probably already picked up on Tony's split personality), loyal fans will snatch this up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


"A fascinating analysis of Tony's analysis." -- Richard D. Zanuck, Producer

'The mob version of Civilization and Its Discontents. ...clinically sensitive, poignant and funny book." -- Jonathan Lear, author, "Love and Its Place in Nature"

Any shrink, anyone who's ever been to a shrink, and...anyone who watches The Sopranos will love reading this book." -- Robin Green, Writer and Executive Producer, "The Sopranos"

Brilliantly captures the dynamics underlying both the depravity and the humanity of Tony and his mobster soldiers... A real winner. -- Irvin Yalom, M.D., author, "Love's Executioners"

Entertaining and insightful. -- John Landis, Director

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 1 edition (July 11, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465027350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465027354
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #615,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Glen O. Gabbard, M.D., is Professor and Director of the Baylor Psychiatry Clinic at the Baylor College of Medicine and Training and Supervising Analyst at the Houston-Galveston Psychoanalytic Institute in Houston, Texas. He was previously Director of the Menninger Hospital in Topeka, Kansas.

Dr. Gabbard is the author or editor of more than fifteen books and currently is joint Editor-in-Chief and Editor for North America of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis. His numerous awards include the 2000 Mary Sigourney Award for outstanding contributions to psychoanalysis.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Sunshinetgo on February 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Like most Sopranos fans, I don't start Monday morning at work until my colleagues and I have thoroughly analyzed the episode of the night before. We all have some psych in our background and the discussions are lively and, not surprisingly, clearly include individual projection. Now, an insightful book by a psychoanalyst! Pinch me! This is one of the panel of psychoanalysts who critiques and analyzes on "Slate" after each episode. He provides understanding to story lines and characters that were previously debatable; that is, if you accept that his analysis is the final word! And you may not always.
Why didn't Tony "get" the rapist? Now I know. Why are we all so drawn to this series? Writing is great, sure, but the reasons are much more complex and personal. The relationships are examined and illuminated. Lines and images I've forgotten are brought back, and with clarification. Subtle inclusion of references to classic movies and literature in the lines or settings are examined. Our fascination with Tony is explained in context to what we struggle with personally daily. I now have a logical understanding of why I like this obviously psychopatic killer mobster!
My friends and I have a ritual of providing the best line of the night and we rarely mimic each other. The lines brought back in the book left a smile on my face. Some that I missed or forgot about were hilarious, and I even underlined passages.
This book was a gift from a fellow "Sorpranoette," Courtney Conlin. It fascinated and captivated me. If you are a Sorpranos fan, and especially if you are into analyzing the plots and characters, if you have unanswered questions, if you strive to learn more about human motivations, and most of all your own, you will not be able to put this book down!
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Cathy Goodwin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This entertaining book actually enhanced my viewing experience. I watch the Sopranos on videotape -- gulping down three episodes at a time -- and I gone back to Season 1 with the help of this book. Gabbard picks up nuances that eluded me on first viewing.
Most interesting is Gabbard's portrayal of the therapist, Jennifer Melfi. Not surprisingly, he is pro-therapy. While acknowledging Jennifer's mistakes -- especially her problems with boundaries -- Gabbard insists that Melfi does, after all, recover from those mistakes. And I'm glad he, too, found some of Jennifer's scenes "improbable," such as her visit to her own therapist with her ex-husband and son. He shed some light on the mystery of Carmela's therapist, the man referred by Dr. Melfi who told Carmela to take the kids and leave. Apparently this therapeutic style is based on input from a real therapist who informally consults with the show.
I'm a little puzzled by Gabbard's references to A.J., Anthony Junior, who appears to be in middle school. On the one hand, Gabbard seems a little too forgiving of the psychologist in A.J.'s school, a man who has trouble communicating with laypeople. Telling the parents that A.J. has "five out of nine" symptoms of ADD doesn't help anyone. And I think Gabbard misinterprets a scene where big sister Meadow, from her infinite wisdom as a college student, helps A.J. interpret Frost's famous poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. Gabbard says the scene highlights the difference in their academic levels, but I've met few straight teenaged boys who were moved by poetry. If they understand symbolism, they're not willing to admit it.
Gabbard also picks up the verbal cruelty Tony inflicts on his young son: "If this is my male heir -- you want me to have a vasectomy?
Read more ›
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Diana on July 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a psychiatrist-in-training who admires Gabbard's writings aimed at mental health professionals, I was interested to see how this book would read. He has managed to write an analysis (pun intended) of the Sopranos that is highly enjoyable as well as enlightening. Although he is writing to a lay audience and has tried to avoid psychoanalytic jargon, this book is not at all dumbed down. You just might find yourself learning something about psychodynamic theory while plumbing the depths of Tony's psyche. I think TV fans and shrinks alike (not to mention those in both categories) will get much out of this book, and have a good time in the process.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book handles the psychology aspect of the Sopranos which I find the most complelling. It highlights why the psychology in the Sopranos is more realistic than anything seen before and elevates the series to a higher level. There are many shows and movies about Italian-American mobsters. This one is very special and rises above most. The show has its own style and consciousness. Psychology of the Sopranos highlights that style and enlightens us furthur.
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Overall, I'd say this book would be a very worthwhile addition to a Sopranos' addict's library. But it's not a perfect read. Since the good outweighs the bad in it, I'll start with that:
1. Easy to read but you never get the feeling that you're being talked down to by the author.
2. Very insightful about Tony Soprano's personality, his prognonis, relationship with Melfi, and his wife.
3. Made me appreciate just how complex the Sopranos is as a TV show (lightyears ahead of most of the other TV out there).
Now the bad . . .
1. Author would have been well-advised to get a Sopranos' fanatic to proofread his book --to get rid of the number of minor mistakes he makes when recounting the plot.
2. Author seems to regard all killing as equally immoral (As a former military man, I found that quite offensive --sometimes you don't have any choice but to fight).
3. Author sometimes over-psychoanalyzes the show (I for one do not believe that men join the Mafia because it allows them to escape into an alternate "family" without overbearing maternal presences!).
Still, I think it is a good book. That being said, it's a little slim for a hardback. Adding a chapter which deconstructs whatever episode the author considers to be the most psychologically complex would add some heft to it.
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