The Assault on Truth: Freud's Suppression of the Seduction Theory

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9780060974572: The Assault on Truth: Freud's Suppression of the Seduction Theory

In 1981 Jeffrey Masson, then a practising psychoanalyst and director of the Freud Archives, used his access to Freud's long-unpublished letters to challenge the very foundations of Freudian theory. This book asserts that Freud, personally reluctant to face the reality of sexual abuse of children and fearing negative public reaction to such a shocking theory, abandoned a valid scientific finding. Freud's revised theory - that his patients' "memories" of seduction and rape were in fact fantasies - became and remains the basis for the whole science of psychoanalysis; it is a theory, Masson argues, that needs careful re-examination.

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From the Back Cover:

“A Watergate of the psyche.”
The New York Times Book Review

With a new introduction by the author
“A LAVISHLY DOCUMENTED, CAREFULLY REASONED WORK, WRITTEN IN A STRAIGHTFORWARD, REASONABLE STYLE.”
The Nation



“INTRIGUING AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING . . . A FASCINATING DETECTIVE-LIKE STORY.”
Sunday Times (London)

“MASSON’S SCHOLARSHIP IS IMPECCABLE.”
Los Angeles Times



More praise for Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
and The Assault on Truth

“One need not follow Masson’s rabid acceptance of a tightly construed [seduction] theory to regret, with him, Freud’s emotional withdrawal from social criticism. . . . Jeffrey Masson has raised important historical questions.”
The Washington Post Book World

“Newly revealed letters and long-secret documents offer further indications of Sigmund Freud’s anguish over his first major theory, new evidence of efforts to cover up that anguish, and provide new information about the life of the man himself.”
The New York Times Book Review

“When the furor subsides, Masson’s book will take its rightful place in the annals of psychoanalytic critique; not the bomb that destroyed the whole building, but part of the wave that is eroding the basic foundation.”
Ms.

“A solid expose that reads like a psychological detective thriller. . . . This brilliant, meticulously researched book probes what many see as the failure of psychoanalysis to confront the real world.”
–Publishers Weekly



“INTRIGUING AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING . . . A FASCINATING DETECTIVE-LIKE STORY.”
Sunday Times (London)

“MASSON’S SCHOLARSHIP IS IMPECCABLE.”
Los Angeles Times

From the Inside Flap:

In 1896, Sigmund Freud presented his revolutionary ?seduction theory,? arguing that acts of sexual abuse and violence inflicted on children are the direct cause of adult mental illness. Nine years later, Freud completely reversed his position, insisting that these sexual memories were actually fantasies that never happened. Why did Freud retract the seduction theory? And why has the psychoanalytic community gone to such lengths to conceal that retraction? In this landmark book, drawing on his unique access to formerly sealed and hidden papers, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson dares to uncover the truth about this critical turning point in Freud?s career and its enduring impact on the theory and practice of psychoanalysis.

The Assault on Truth reveals a reality that neither Freud nor his followers could bear to face. Bracing in its honesty, gripping its revelations, this is the book that prompted Masson?s break with the psychoanalytic community?and launched his subsequent brilliant career as an independent thinker and writer.

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