Freud and History

Our Review of the Week features a text that explores Freudian psychology in the context of 20th century history

Cold War Freud : psychoanalysis in an age of catastrophes

Herzog, Dagmar. Cambridge, 2017
311p index, 9781107072398 $34.99, 9781108110365 $28.00

In this wonderfully researched and elegantly argued contribution to the history of psychoanalytic thought, Herzog (history, City Univ. of New York) offers an account of Freudianism in the decades following World War II that will alter the direction of much historicism pertaining to the upheavals in ideology and activism for which, for example, the decade of the 1960s is renowned. Herzog shows the struggles over key dimensions of Freudian thought as they unfold internationally, against the background of social movements such as feminism, anti-colonialism, and gay rights, paying attention to the impact of Nazism, the intractability of homophobia, and Oedipal authority. Particularly noteworthy is a chapter on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as its diagnosis, etiology, and treatment were shaped and unshaped in the aftermath of the 20th-century’s greatest trauma, the Holocaust. The book provides new angles on key figures in Freudian and anti-Freudian philosophy, including Karen Horney, Karl Menninger, Herbert Marcuse, Konrad Lorenz, Paul Parin, and coauthors Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. There is no doubt that this book will prove indispensable for scholars of history, the history of ideas, and psychoanalysis.

Summing Up: Essential. All readers.
Reviewer: M. Uebel, University of Texas
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – Psychology
Choice Issue: Sep 2017