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Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
April 2001; $35.00US/$55.00CAN; 0-374-16880-6
Heinz Kohut (1913-1981) was at the center of the
twentieth-century psychoanalytic movement. After fleeing his native Vienna
when the Nazis took power there, he came to Chicago, where he spent the rest
of his life. He became the most creative figure in the Chicago Institute for
Psychoanalysis and is now remembered as the founder of "self
psychology," whose emphasis on empathy sought to make Freudian
psychoanalysis more compassionate.
Kohut's was a life that invited complexity. He obfuscated
his identity as a Jew, negotiated a protean sexuality, and could be
surprisingly secretive about his health and other matters. In this biography,
Charles B. Strozier shows us Kohut as a paradigmatic figure in American
intellectual life: a charismatic man whose ideas embodied the hope and
confusions of a still unsettled country. Inherent in his life and formulated
in his work were the core issues of modem America. He touched the pulse.
The years after World War II were the halcyon days of
American psychoanalysis, which thrived as one analyst after another expanded
upon Freud's insights. The gradual erosion of the discipline's humanism,
however, began to trouble clinicians and patients alike. Heinz Kohut took the
lead in the creation of the first authentically home-grown psychoanalytic
movement. It took an émigré to be so distinctly American.
Strozier brings to his telling of Kohut's life all the tools
of a skillful analyst: intelligence, erudition, empathy, contrary insight, and
a willingness to look far below the surface.
Charles B. Strozier is a professor of history at John
Jay College and the Graduate Center, CUNY, and a training and supervising
psychoanalyst at the Training and Research
Institute for Self Psychology (TRISP). He is the author of Lincoln's
Quest for Union: A Psychological Portrait and Apocalypse: On the
Psychology of Fundamentalism in America. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
"Strozier faced a truly daunting task in probing the life of a man who
was as complex and duplicitous as he was gifted. Yet he succeeds brilliantly
in conveying Kohut's intellectual power, and in making clear how and why he
became the most influential clinical psychoanalyst of the last half-century.
Strozier brings an extraordinary combination of empathy and breadth to this
--Robert Jay Lifton, co-author of Who Owns Death?: Capital Punishment,
the American Conscience, and the End of Executions
"A thoughtful, scholarly, penetrating biography of one of the most
original contributors to psychoanalysis in this country. while evidently
sympathetic to Kohut's contributions, Strozier successfully avoids
idealizations and, implicitly, raises fascinating questions about the
relationship between Kohut's personality and the subject matter of his
dominant concern, normal and pathological narcissism. This book provides an
appropriate tribute to a courageous pioneer who dared to challenge traditional
--Otto F. Kernberg, M.D., author of Love Relations and Severe
"This striking story of a single man is also a history of
psychoanalysis as he has illuminated the life of its most distinguished
--Arnold Goldberg, M.D., author of Being of Two Minds and editor
of the series Progress in Self Psychology
Buy Charles Strozier's new biography of Heinz Kohut at Amazon.com
through this link and save 20% now while helping to support the
Self Psychology Page.
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