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When Life Calls Out to Us: The Love and Lifework of Viktor and Elly Frankl

4.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Unbound
  • Publisher: Doubleday Books (October 2001)
  • ISBN-10: 0385506473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385506472
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The below is from Kirkus Reviews.
"Vivid and revealing recollections, impressions, and stories of Viktor Frankl's life, as told to clinical psychologist Klingberg, his friend and former student. In a project that took eight years to complete, Klingberg (Psychology/North Park Univ., Chicago) recorded hundreds of hours of conversations with Frankl and his wife Elly. In the process, he managed to elicit from Frankl (1905-1997) the influences, decisions, and graces that went into the making of the mind that produced the soul-expanding Man's Search for Meaning (1959). Frankl speaks plainly about his secure and comforting early youth, how it may well have had as much influence on his future thought as did the remarkable intellectual atmosphere of early-20th-century Vienna. Not an athletic child, he would instead trip off to attend lectures at the university psychiatric clinic, take sprout in the seedbeds of Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Jaspers, the Nihilists, Freud, and Adler. He explains the moment of his discomfort with an idea, of the psychological theory and reductionism that deflected him from Freud and Adler, their constrictions and lack of rationality. And how, prior to the concentration camps, he was forming his theory of logotherapy and the development of a less deterministic, more optimistic and humanistic psychology, one rooted in the freedom and independence of the human spirit to assume responsibility in all personal matters, to find meaning in existence by living for someone or something other than the self. Klingberg provides a thorough picture of Frankl's detractors-from those who were angered by his thumbing his nose at collective guilt to others who found fault in his marrying a Christian to those who thought hiswork came down to simple mental attitude.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As one of Dr. Frankl's medical students at the Poliklinik in 1948 I found this book of great interest. It is well written and detailed. Although I had always admired Frankl for not falling victim to hate after his concentration camp experiences I was unaware of the profound influence his second wife Elly (the first wife,Tilly, died in Bergen-Belsen) had in his recovery from the tragedies and the help she had given him in the propagation of logotherapy.
Anyone who is familiar with some of Frankl's book will enjoy reading about the fascinating and colorful personal lives of these two truly extraordinary people. Dr. Klingberg is to be congratulated for his efforts in making them available to us.
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Format: Paperback
To those of us who cut our "self-awareness teeth" on Freud, Rogers, Adler and Maslow, Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning" was a much-welcomed counterweight, jerking us forcefully back to a common reality about our humanity. For three decades we had watched the pendulum swing from a "human potential movement" run amok (that is from the pursuit of self-esteem projects and self-fulfillment ideologies at all costs and for their own sake. to self-awareness projects such as EST and (for me) "Life Spring," both of which were also self-absorbed self-actualization projects). But stripped of their psychological affectations, they were little more than just another form of individualism at all costs but called by yet another name. The swinging of the individualism pendulum was a morally blind and tawdry affair, with the worse infractions being committed by those in the "pay-as-you-go-mega churches," in which religionists were asked to be all they could be and make all they could make in God's name.

The results of having desperately grasped at these straws of individualism at all costs are now in. And now we cannot fail to recognize them for what they are: the cause of the now familiar social meltdowns of boredom, loneliness, obsessiveness, greed, promiscuity, addictions, abuse, divorces, violence, and the ultimate collective penalty, loss of community. In short, extreme individualism in pursuit of happiness no matter who it may hurt, has not worked very well for our society.

To Frankl the promise of such "individual" happiness on the cheap was always an empty pipe dream, if for no more reason than that it is an integral part of the Existentialist creed that in order to remain whole man must confront and deal with life's unpleasantness wherever it is found.
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Format: Hardcover
This history of Frankl's life, thoughtfully and respectfully told, provides much of the context which breathed even more life into Frankl's work for me.
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Format: Paperback
It is now 14 years since Haddon Klingberg hosted Viktor Frankl and his wife Elly in Chicago, and was asked by the couple to write their personal story. He accepted the challenge and gave seven years to faithfully researching and recording a remarkable love story, interwoven with the professional accomplishments of one of the towering figures in 20th century psychiatric practice. Klingberg's foreward, introduction and first chapters give a comprehensive overview of the European psychiatric landscape into which Dr. Frankl emerged and upon which he left his indelible mark, after years of incarceration in Nazi concentration camps.

Frankl's logotherapy, which shone a light in my own life forty-three years ago, becomes more than an inspiring theory in author Klingberg's hands. Logotherapy's founder is enfleshed with a genuine humanity of weaknesses and flaws as well as the ideal of self-transcendence to which the noted physician aspired. I learned, and I laughed and cried alternately in this wonderful read. I'll never be the same after being led by the author into the private lives of the two remarkable Frankls.
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