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Sigmund Freud: Pioneer of the Mind Hardcover – April 23, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Reef's (John Steinbeck; Walt Whitman) piercing biography deftly interprets the life of the father of psychoanalysis and one of the most influential men of the 20th century. From the first page, the author conjures the doctor's office and analytic approach, so that readers gain a sense of what his patients experienced and Freud's underlying theories. "Like an archaeologist of the mind, Freud waited for his patient's words to reveal their hidden messages: long-lost memories and unconscious desires." The author then traces his journey from early childhood as the favorite son to his escape from the Nazis. Freud emerges as a tirelessly determined scientist committed to helping patients wrestle demons and willing to face public ridicule for his convictions. The text hits controversy head-on, illuminating the strong backlash against Freud's emphasis on sexuality in his lifetime, his belief in the importance of a psychiatrist's self-analysis as well as current criticism of his narrow focus on "upper-middle-class European women" and his "assumption that his patients' memories of childhood abuse were imagined." Reef distills Freud's theories into comprehensible descriptions and combines a wealth of primary source material and idiosyncratic details to demonstrate his intellect, character and personality (e.g., to convey his devotion to his wife and six children, "Freud came home to eat lunch with the family every day, unless they were having chicken or cauliflower, two foods he hated"). Archival photographs and prints round out this compelling portrait of the scientist who forever changed society's view of the human mind. Ages 10-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8-Reef does a fine job of consolidating information to produce a biography that will serve as a reference source. Chapter one sets the tone with a readable, succinct summary of Freud's importance to the study of the mind. In subsequent chapters, discussions of Freud's life, family, work, associates, friendships, and publications are set against the political, social, and economic upheavals of the early 20th century. Quotations from others about him and the black-and-white photographs provide an image of Freud not only as a great thinker, but also as a loving, devoted father and husband. Reef's descriptions of his struggle to see his ideas accepted, his willingness to experiment with new theories, and his writing literally until he died clearly convey a picture of an indefatigable spirit with a passion and zest for every facet of life. Oddly, in the endnotes, Reef identifies direct quotes by repeating the first few words and listing the source-there are no footnote numbers. Overall, the writing is engaging and clear; however, due to the inclusive aspect of this volume, some coverage is superficial. This does not mar its value as a research tool.

Joanne K. Cecere, Monroe-Woodbury High School, Central Valley, NY

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1050L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books; First Edition edition (April 23, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618017623
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618017621
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,802,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Catherine Reef is an award-winning author of nonfiction books for young people and adults. Her new dual biography, FRIDA & DIEGO: ART, LOVE, LIFE, explores the lives and work of two remarkable artists admired in Mexico and throughout the world, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, in a colorful, richly illustrated format. One of Booklist's Top Ten Arts Books for Youth 2014, FRIDA & DIEGO received starred reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Booklist.

Catherine also wrote THE BRONTE SISTERS: THE BRIEF LIVES OF CHARLOTTE, EMILY, AND ANNE. This popular young adult book received three starred reviews and was named to several annual lists of "best" books, including Kirkus's Best Books for Teens, Bank Street College's Best Children's Books, and the Amelia Bloomer Project List.

Among Catherine's other notable books are JANE AUSTEN: A LIFE REVEALED, one of Booklist's Top Ten Biographies for Youth; LEONARD BERNSTEIN AND AMERICAN MUSIC, which Kidsbiographer called "in many ways, a music appreciation course, one that the composer-conductor himself would approve"; ERNEST HEMINGWAY: A WRITER'S LIFE, a Golden Kite Honor Book and a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People; and E. E. CUMMINGS: A POET'S LIFE, one of YALSA's Best Books for Young Adults and one of the New York Public Library's Book for the Teen Age.

Catherine works hard at her writing, but she also loves to travel, read, work with her hands, and spend time with her family and friends. She likes to cook and can bake a prize-worthy apple pie.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is a very interesting biography of the always-controversial father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. Beginning with his birth in Freiberg, Austria in 1856, the book traces his life through its ups and downs, through to his death in England, having fled from his beloved Austria after the Nazi takeover.

The book is generally favorable to Freud, but it does explain why he was controversial during his life, and why he is still controversial today. What he taught is explained in a simple, down-to-earth manner that will not be lost on readers unknowledgeable of the man, such as myself. I enjoyed this book, and recommend it to anyone who wants to be introduced to Sigmund Freud.
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