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Living in the Shadow of the Freud Family 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0275994150
ISBN-10: 0275994155
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Editorial Reviews


"From Paris, to Nice, to a refugee camp in Morocco, and then to New York, what this book makes clear is that it is impossible to leave all one's baggage behind….This collection of recollections and contemporary voices is an intriguing insight into the complexities of the family, all the more so because Sigmund Freud himself appears in a sort of cameo role, an incidental but influential presence. It is a fascinating read for scholars of Freud and family relationships alike, although for the interested layman it can be read purely for the soap-opera enjoyment of this complex family." - Metapsychology Online Reviews

"Drawing on her late mother's memoirs, other family writings, and her own diary, Sophie Freud, the granddaughter of Sigmund Freud, chronicles the family's neurotic relationships over the course of the 20th century in Europe and the U.S. For example she reveals that her father was not considered suitable to marry her mother, because the famous psychoanalyst was just another psychiatrist and one who writes pornography at that, and that Dr. Freud was later asked to be her parents' marriage counselor. The book includes a Drucker-Freud family tree, photos, and portraits." - Reference & Research Book News

"Merging memory and love, Sophie Freud has chronicled the struggles of her famous family and its stern patriarch in an affecting memoir of searing power and poignancy….[a] domestic saga that is a valuable document of our times….As if weaving a tapestry, she examines the Freud family legacy by stitching together memories of others, their letters, diaries and even obituaries….The effect is mesmerizing, even Proustian. Instead of writing a memoir that observes history from a single fixed perspective, Freud pulls her readers into her extended family's kaleidoscope lives over decades of personal drama and international conflict." - The Daily News

"Imagine growing up in a home that fully embraced the Oedipus complex? Yeah, not so fun. Enter Sophie Freud, the grand-daughter of the granddaddy of psychoanalytic thought. Freud offers the repressed masses an inside glimpse into such a childhood….Her memoir chronicles the extended family through letters, diaries and recaps of personal experiences, exploring the triumphs and hardships of carrying the famous name." - The Improper Bostonian


"What is in fact most compelling about this book is the sublime honesty of Sophie Freud herself. One feels her pride and her suffering as a scion of psychoanalytic aristocracy." (Charles B. Strozier, Professor of History, John Jay College and the Graduate Center, CUNY)

"I found myself completely taken over, pulled into the story and unable to put the book down…so compelling is the combination of historical events with intriguing personal/family stories…. This saga, fascinating in its own right, and sheds reflected light on the famous Freud family. Autobiography, diaries and letters give multiple views of these events, held together by Sophie Freud's own fiercely honest narration. I know of nothing like it and strongly recommend it as a beautifully crafted work that will appeal to the widest group of readers." (Louis Breger, Ph.D., Author of the acclaimed biography Freud: Darkness in the Midst of Vision)

"This riveting, insightful book illuminates the personal lives of Freud's extended family through letters, diaries and personal observations. No melodrama can match the loves, hates, betrayals and deceptions that rend the members apart. Yet there are displays of extraordinary courage, outstanding achievements, intense cultural pursuits and deep dedication. For instance, amazing courage is displayed by Freud's daughter-in-law and granddaughter as they escape the advancing Germans by bicycling across France. Benignly but distantly, Sigmund floats above the turmoil. For the Freud scholar this is a must-read, for the layman it is as juicy as a gossip column." (Dorit B. Whiteman, Ph.D., President, Nassau County Psychological Association author of The Uprooted: A Hitler Legacy and Escape via Siberia: A Jewish Child's Odyssey of Survival)

"Spanning more than a century of family history, Sophie Freud's captivating memoir presents a penetrating and brutally honest glimpse into the conflicted lives, unfulfilled dreams, and cruel setbacks experienced by this extended branch of the Freud family. Readers will be fascinated by the sometimes harrowing details of how this famous family--buffeted by the tragedy of two world wars and the horrors of the Holocaust--survived the arduous path from Vienna to a new life in America." (Frank J. Sulloway, Author of Freud, Biologist of the Mind: Beyond the Psychoanalytic Legend and Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics, and Creative Lives.)

"This is a fascinating and unusual book, one that can be read at many different levels. It is a moving document--an act of love--of a daughter who, in her own later years, re-discovers her mother through her mother's autobiography. This is altogether and extraordinary, even epic, account of mainly the lives of mother and daughter, but also of an entire family. I was very moved by its depth, sadness, courage, and honesty." (Morris N. Eagle, Ph. D., Professor Emeritus, Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies Adelphi University.)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger; 1 edition (April 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0275994155
  • ISBN-13: 978-0275994150
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,955,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lewis H. Miller, Jr. on August 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Sophie Freud's recent book, Living Under the Shadow of the Freud Family, is most interesting and compelling. She masterfully interweaves perspectives on the private (and public) lives of her family and herself, thus offering a memoir that at times reads like a first-rate novel.

Professor Freud's wit, mischievousness, and clear-eyed vision pervades the various narratives and adds a most important and entertaining dimension--not only in her diary entries but in her numerous candid and often wonderfully blunt assessments of others (family members, professors, etc.) and in her self-reflexive comments (e.g. when she reflects puckishly that she may be writing this book to display her own achievements for the Annee Scolaire prize--"who knows, perhaps I am writing this book just for that purpose"). It is this kind of serious play, throughout, that makes this memoir so very readable and revealing, at the same time Sophie Freud's commentary or her mother's autobiographical narrative or numerous letters continue to remind readers of the shadow of her grandfather and other relatives (Tante Janne, her brother, her father, et al. ) and of the sinister shadow of Hitler and WW2 which impinges trenchantly on the lives of the Freud family, not to mention the world. I am reminded of the author, W.G, Sebald, photos included. In short, among other things, I have come away with a very deep and complex feeling for Professor Freud's mother, along with multiple insights into her own fascinating self.
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Format: Hardcover
Sophie Freud's new book is more than a history of a famous family in the 20thc, but a history of the century in itself. The long arc of Germany's attempt to achieve at least European, if not worldwide, supremacy, is told through the eyes of a family that lived it.

The book is neither long nor hard to read, therefore, I was disappointed when Sophie thanks her editors for helping her cut it down. I want to read it all. Basically the book is Sophie's mother's autobiography. Said Ernestine, who liked to be called Esti married Martin Freud, one of Sigmund Freud's sons. She wrote her book late in her life, and her writings are in Roman type, whereas Sophie's comments are in italics, and thus this whole book which was written AND edited by Sophie becomes a dual biography.

Accompanying the stories of these 2 women are many, many letters written by other members of the Freud family, and from them we can make our own judgements about the people and compare them to the ones that Sophie makes. These other letters are in various fonts.

The mother, Esti, seems at first to be a simple lovely girl in love with Martin, but Sigmund says of her "she is not only maliciously meshugge but also mad in the medical sense." We see this in the early years of their marriage. Talk about dysfunctional families!

The family split up in 1938: Esti and Sophie went to Paris, and Martin and his son, Walter, went to London. For the next 4 years mother and daughter struggled to keep alive, to find decent lodging and food, and to keep barely one step ahead of Hitler as he ran down France. Vichy France became a haven for the Freuds for a while, but eventually they went to Casablanca and then to Lisbon, and finally to the USA.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a fascinating read, both in terms of family dynamics and world history. Through letters, diaries and commentary from various family members, Sophie Freud (Sigmund Freud's granddaughter) gives life to her mother Esti, including her troubled marriage to Freud's son Martin, her struggle to be accepted by the Freud family, and her difficult relationships with her children. The book also has moments of historic drama, such as when Sophie and her mother flee Paris by bicycle two days before the Nazis invade. There are also bits of humor, such as when the teenage Sophie's diary reveals that she is much more concerned about boys, her figure, and finishing her qualifying exams than she is about the approaching Nazis. Overall, the book provides unique insight into a complicated (and famous) family at an especially charged time in history. I really enjoyed it.Living in the Shadow of the Freud Family
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this for my mother and it wasn't what she expected at all,but she thought it was ok and it sounds like freud was kind of a dark man.A man with a dark personality that is.
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