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Recollections: An Autobiography Paperback – July, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Frankl, psychologist and author of Man's Search for Meaning (1959), recounts his life in Austria from his birth in 1905 to the end of World War II. Even as an adolescent, Frankl was drawn to the workings of the human mind. He devoted himself to the study of psychology while a very young man and was mentored by pioneer psychologist Alfred Adler. Frankl, though, eventually rejected key tenets of Adler's teachings, and the two split forever. On his own, Frankl developed logotherapy, a combination of psychology and philosophy, to help people search for values and meaning in a world often devoid of both. But then Frankl, a Jew, came up against Hitler's Anschluss of his homeland and, later, the concentration camps and their attendant horrors, putting Frankl's logotherapy to the supreme test. An enlightening look at an important twentieth-century intellectual. Brian McCombie --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"An inspiring book by a man who obviously practices what he preaches." -- Publishers Weekly

"As simple, spontaneous, short and humble an autobiography as I have ever come across. Its affect is on the one hand awe-inspiring, and on the other is humbling to review the literature of genius." -- Toronto Globe and Mail

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738203556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738203553
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #246,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Viktor E. Frankl was professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Vienna Medical School until his death in 1997. He was the founder of what has come to be called the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy (after Freud's psychoanalysis and Adler's individual psychology)--the school of logotherapy.

Born in 1905, Dr. Frankl received the degrees of Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Vienna. During World War II he spent three years at Auschwitz, Dachau and other concentration camps.

Dr. Frankl first published in 1924 in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis and has since published twenty-six books, which have been translated into nineteen languages, including Japanese and Chinese. He was a visiting professor at Harvard, Duquesne, and Southern Methodist Universities. Honorary Degrees have been conferred upon him by Loyola University in Chicago, Edgecliff College, Rockford College, and Mount Mary College, as well as by universities in Brazil and Venezuela. He was a guest lecturer at universities throughout the world and made fifty-one lecture tours throughout the United States alone. He was President of the Austrian Medical Society of Psychotherapy.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Bonita L. Davis on May 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
Viktor Frankl has presented us with snap shots of the key events in his life. These recollections were never intended for publication but through the encouragement of his publisher this slim volume was made available for readers. Thus begins our journey in looking at the life of the founder of Logotherapy and the author of "Man's Search for Meaning."
Frankl's life is filled with interesting portraits. We learn of his mother's patrician background and the fact that she was descended from a family of prominent rabbis. His father was a struggling student and was director of the government's Ministry of Social Services.
We get to see this inquisitive young man as he is impacted by Freud, Hirschmann, Schilder and Adler as he begins to step int the field of psychoanalysis. Through his philosophical questionings and debates with these giants in the field we find Frankl developing his own methodology. March of 1938 became a turing point for the young man as his country is invaded by the Nazis and he is placed in a concentration camp. From that experience wee see a new personality arising who meets the psychological, emotional and spiritual tensions in his life with utmost grace.We see a man who has the opportunity to leave Austria and avoid the concentration camps but he elects to stay and care for his parents.
Unfortunately this memoir is not a full autobiography of Frankl. You receive sketches of his life and end up wanting more. Read in conjunction with Man's Search for Meaning, the reader can gain further insight on this great personality. I believe this book serves as a supplemental text for the author's Man Search for Meaning." Hopefully a full scale biographical work will come out on Frankl. Until then, this slender volume will whet your appetite to learn more about this great man.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
"Recollections" is episodic, much like sharing a cup of coffee with a casual acquaintance and trying to divine their life story from those conversations. Dr. Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning" is a landmark book for many seekers--including me--and I jumped at the chance to read this so-called autobiography of a giant in the field of diagnosing modern society's malaise. The book is a pleasant read, with Dr. Frankl's humor guiding the narrative. There's not much in the way of how Dr. Frankl coped with returning from concentration camps to find every member of his family--including his young wife--dead. The late Dr. Frankl's narrative is light and episodic, like afternoon conversations instead of Freudian analysis.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Larry Mullins on January 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
A slim volume, but to those who seek to know about Frankl, most interesting. For the first time we learn of his childhood, youth and early career as a doctor in prewar Vienna.
There are tidbits of about his work philosophy, some of his drawings, new photos, anecdotes about Freud, Adler and others. For the first time, Frankl tells of his encounter with the infamous Dr. Mengele when he entered Auschwitz. In the "selection" process Mengele directed him to the gas chamber group. Frankl tells how he avoided his fate. Several poignant moments are described, such as his parting advice to his wife, Tilly .. his later discovery of a precious pendant he had given her ... how he learned that she had died shortly after the camp was liberated ... and several others. Near the end Frankl tells of how he was once asked to describe, in one sentence the meaning of his life. He challenged a group of students to guess the answer he gave. One finally suggested "The meaning of your life is to help others find the meaning of theirs." That was exactly right, the very words Frankl has used.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Anne G. Sherrod on February 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first thing to read about Viktor Frankl is his famous book, "Man's Search for Meaning," in which he tells of his experience as an Austrian Jew in Auschwitz during World War II. A man with a heroic nature, who gave inspiration to many in the concentration camps, Frankl carried his experience and philosophy on "the last freedom" out of Auschwitz and into the lives of many thousands of people. Unless one has read "Man's Search for Meaning", this autobiography may strike the reader as "So what?". But if you have read the famous one, the information provided here will all fit in place. At 133 pages, this autobiography is brief, and written in a relaxed conversation style. Some of what Frankl chooses to tell about himself is unaccountably mundane, but most of it is very worthwhile. It does have quite a few of those little details that you might be hoping to find, along with a good array of photographs. And if you want a clear summary of the philosophical and psychological influences on his life, you'll find that too. It gives an interesting glimpse into that world of German psychiatry and philosophy at the time that Freud was doing his work. In that context, one understands better the significance of Frankl's philosophy and psychiatric practice. Before the war, Frankl was already challenging his colleagues' tendency to see human nature as a bundle of psychology; he was saying that there is a real self in each person whose potentia need to be called upon to take responsibility for his/her challenges in life. After the war, that view got Frankl in trouble with a lot of people, because he refused to blame all Germans, or even all Nazis. In fact, Frankl's whole life experience and the message he shares is one of not blaming others for what has happened to you. Coming from an Auschwitz survivor who lived what he preached to the ultimate degree, it's a message that has helped many thousands of people.
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