From the master of Freud debunkers, the biography that finally and definitively puts an end to the myth of psychoanalysis and its creator
Since the 1970s, Sigmund Freud’s scientific reputation has been in an accelerating tailspin. Nonetheless, the idea persists that some of Freud’s contributions were visionary discoveries of lasting value. In Freud: The Making of a Wizard, Frederick Crews investigates these discoveries and reveals findings that will revolutionize our conception of the therapist, the theorist, and the human being.
With unusual access to archives not yet publically available, Crews sheds new light on Freud’s character, values, and conduct. He gives the full account of Freud’s fifteen-year involvement with cocaine; he explores Freud’s early struggles as a physician; his relations with eminent mentors; his case histories—some of which involved “patients” who didn’t exist; the misogyny that haunted his private and professional life; and the role of his sister-in-law, Minna Bernays, who served as his secretary, muse, and concubine.
In the process, Crews shows us a surprising new Freud: a man who blundered tragicomically in his dealings with patients, who misunderstood the psychological controversies of the era, who tried to appropriate the findings of others, and who advanced his career through falsifying his record and betraying the colleagues who had helped him to rise. The legend has persisted, Crews shows, thanks to Freud’s fictive self-invention as a master detective of the psyche, and later through a campaign of censorship and falsification conducted by his followers.
A monumental biography and a slashing critique, Freud: The Making of a Wizard will stand as the last word on the most significant and contested figure of the twentieth century.