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The Lives of Erich Fromm: Love's Prophet Hardcover – February 12, 2013


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The Lives of Erich Fromm: Love's Prophet + The Art of Loving + Escape from Freedom
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 410 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (February 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231162588
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231162586
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #804,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

In mid-century America, a peak era for public intellectuals, Erich Fromm's psychological and sociological writings were required reading among the intelligentsia. What's more, his ideas were widely discussed by others, ranging from the millions who devoured The Art of Loving to U.S. Senators and even President John Kennedy. In this compelling biography, historian Lawrence Friedman, author of the definitive biography of psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, details the cornucopia of ideas that issued from Fromm's fertile mind as well as the fascinating and little known details of his lengthy, controversial and exceedingly full life.

(Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education)

Through this thorough portrait, Love's Prophet emerges as an exemplar of enjoying an examined life to its fullest potential.

(Publishers Weekly)

The brilliantly comprehensive study of psychoanalyst Erich Fromm's (1900-1980) many 'lives' as a clinician, philosopher, social critic and political activist...Academic biography at its best.

(Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

Accessible to general readers - a sympathetic, stimulating biography of one of the most influential psychologists of the 20th century.

(Library Journal (starred review))

A thoroughly absorbing history of the cultural and political context within which Fromm's life was lived.

(Vivian Gornick Boston Review 1900-01-00)

Friedman is a consummate intellectual biographer.

(Michael M. Canaris America)

Meticulous, detailed.... A model of intellectual biography.

(Alan Ryan New York Review of Books)

a valuable contribution to Fromm scholarship and to American political and social history.

(Daniel Burston PsycCritiques 1900-01-00)

A deep, insightful, and very human portrait of one of the great public intellectuals of the 20th century.

(Choice)

Friedman's biography tracks Fromm through the various phases of his life in detail, providing a thickness of description that hasn't been available before.

(Paul Reitter Times Literary Supplement)

... The most thoroughly, well-researched, and balanced biography so far of Erich Fromm... A clear and richly detailed overview of Fromm's life and work.

(American Historical Review 1900-01-00)

An intellectual biography of the first order.

(Journal of American History 1900-01-00)

Review

Although there are some books on Fromm, none approach the depth and comprehensiveness of Friedman's work. Love's Prophet is based on research on … sources that no other scholars have used. It details Fromm's… perhaps unconscious decision to eschew an academic career and become--even if he would not use the term--a public intellectual.

(Gerald N. Grob, Henry E. Sigerist Professor of the History of Medicine (Emeritus), Rutgers University)

More About the Author

Lawrence J. Friedman, Ph.D. is a Harvard historian working in the Mind-Brain-Behavior Initiative. He has written eight scholarly books, including studies of the Menninger Clinic and of Erik Erikson, plus more than fifty scholarly articles. Friedman has lectured in eleven countries and was named International Writer of the Year in 2003 by the International Biographical Center (London). In February of 2013 Columbia University Press published his THE LIVES OF ERICH FROMM: LOVE'S PROPHET. It is the first comprehensive biography of Fromm based on global archival research. Columbia nominated it for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography and for the National Book Award. Friedman is currently working on another book tentatively titled COMPASSIONATE GLOBALISM: THE "ONE WORLD" MOVEMENT.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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If you're a fan of Fromm, this is required reading.
skauffman
Lawrence Friedman has presented a compelling dimensional portrait of this remarkable humanist.
Ellen Joseph
The title of Lawrence J. Friedman's book THE LIVES OF ERICH FROM: LOVE'S PROPHET is apt.
Thomas J. Farrell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Richard A., Maxwell on February 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Easily the best treatment of Fromm's life, thought, and impact on 20th century
society. Friedman's excellent biography should rekindle interest in Fromm's
work on love and social character, which is as relevant for out troubled century
as it was for Fromm's. A major achievement!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Anne M. Wyatt-Brown on April 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Lawrence J. Friedman's The Lives of Erich Fromm: Love's Prophet, is a rich book, full of fascinating information about Fromm's place in the competitive world of 20th century psychoanalytic thinking and practice, in Europe, the United States, and Mexico. I was in awe of Friedman's research methods, which he describes in "A Biographical Note," at the end of his book. I enjoyed reading about Fromm's relationship with my political heroes of the past, John Kennedy, Adlai Stevenson, and J. William Fulbright. I was amazed by how fast Fromm learned English after he immigrated and made friends with American intellectuals, scholars, and clinicians, such as Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead, and Harry Stack Sullivan. The Lives of Erich Fromm: Love's Prophet
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andrew H. Cohn on March 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
A fascinating portrait of a complex man, both psychoanalyst and public intellectual. To read 'The Lives of Erich Fromm' is to participate in the major ideological ferment of pre- and post-World War Two America, with Fromm's verve and fervent engagement as your guide. A hearty feast for the mind and the spirit.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Farrell on August 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The title of Lawrence J. Friedman's book THE LIVES OF ERICH FROM: LOVE'S PROPHET is apt. Erich Fromm (1900-1980) lived a remarkably productive and resilient life. He lived with the resilience and resourcefulness of Odysseus. Through his widely read books, he championed the love of life, or biophilia, so he was love's prophet.

According to Friedman, more than 5 million copies of Fromm's book ESCAPE FROM FREEDOM (1941) have been sold in 28 languages and roughly 25 million copies of Fromm's THE ART OF LOVING (1956) have been sold in 50 languages.

Erich Fromm was a Jew who was born and raised in Germany. Later in his life, when he lived in the United States, he mastered English. A psychoanalyst by training, he considered himself to be a Freudian, but orthodox Freudians considered him to be a neo-Freudian. He was a secular Jew who advocated secular humanism and Zen Buddhism. He was a self-described democratic socialist who supported Adlai Stevenson and Eugene McCarthy. In 1960 Fromm published an article that deeply influenced John F. Kennedy's thinking.

Friedman also recounts that David Riesman (1909-2002), the author of the classic book THE LONELY CROWD (1950), 8 million copies of which were sold, saw Fromm for psychotherapy when Riesman was a young man. Afterwards, the two men became lifelong friends. Riesman generously acknowledged that Fromm's thought about what he referred to as the marketing personality (e.g., Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's play THE DEATH OF A SALESMAN) influenced his (Riesman's) description of the other-directed person.

However, I would point out here that both Fromm and Riesman exemplified inner-directed persons. As a result, we should take their reservations about other-directed persons with a grain of salt.

After all, John F. Kennedy was an other-directed person if ever there was one. He's the fellow whose thinking Fromm deeply influenced through his 1960 article.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul Rentz on March 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So far I've only spot read a few pages, perused the Table of Contents and the Index. What a rich cornucopia for anyone interested in Fromm, psychology, critical theory, American culture of 1950-2000, and philosophy. This review is only a very preliminary report, but I can say I've never felt this much enthusiasm on starting to read a biography in nearly 55 years of reading. More Anon. Thank you Mr. Friedman!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert H. Abzug on March 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is an essential work for the history of psychology and its impact on America. Friedman, who has written fine books on Erik Erikson and the Menninger clinic, now revives the memory of Erich Fromm, one of the most influential public intellectuals of the 1940s-80s, and whose influence is still felt in myriad ways. Friedman's comprehensive look at Fromm's career, including the influence of his early and strong interest in Judaism and the Jewish revival in his native Germany, goes far beyond any other treatment. Discoveries to be made in every chapter and written with clarity and authority.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By skauffman on January 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Friedman's account of Erich Fromm doesn't miss a beat. The book is well organized and provides substantial detail on the events of Fromm's numerous 'lives.' I found a handful of passages slightly stale, but Friedman manages to recapture the reader with further insights of how Fromm's life fits into the broader intellectual and social movements of the twentieth century. If you're a fan of Fromm, this is required reading.

While every honest biography has the potential to reduce one's idealized image of another person, Friedman contextualizes Fromm so well that his flaws make him a much richer, interesting person. If the aphorism, "Don't meet your heroes" is true, well at least read about them!

And oh--definitely read Fromm's writings (esp. The Art of Loving and To Have or To Be).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ideas on April 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Terrific biography that tells the story of Fromm's engagement with a president and various American politicians, his important role in the early years of Amnesty International, and beautifully lays out the kinks between Fromm's loves, life and his ideas. First rate biography, and an engaging read. One could quibble about some of the treatments of the ideas, and the explanation of how Fromm became a "forgotten intellectual." But the scholarship and story told here, could re-engage discussion about Fromm. More can be said about the connections between Fromm's ideas, and contemporary politics, violence and social movements. But start here.
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