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Recollections: An Autobiography
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2001
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
on April 19, 2000
"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
on January 7, 2009
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
on February 17, 2013
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2014
I love any work of Viktor Frankl. He writes about honorable men. He was an honorable man and I wish I encountered more honorable men as I go about my life. He was a great man and reading his book becomes a life-changing event.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2014
No one could make this stuff up. With such frankness, Frankl tells the story of an amazing human life. Anyone can benefit from reading this story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2013
Important and intimate insight into Victor Frankl's life in his own words. A highly recommended read for Frankl fans. Terrific!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2014
This is an amazing man. To have lived through 4 concentration camps and read his whole life, you would never know what this amazing man went through. He didn't talk about the camps in his book but more about his life before and after the camps. I would recommend you read his other book before reading this one. He definitely is one amazing man.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2015
I really like the style of Dr Frankl's writing , with a sense of humor and not to mention the great insights that I have carried away. this is the kind of book that I will read repeatedly and I'll still get something new out of it
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2015
I will have to read this book several more times. Reading it was like having a wonderful human being sitting next to me in my living room.
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