0-8133-1027-X the Soviet Nationality Reader : the Disintegration in Context
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Hoffman (The Right to Be Human, 1988, etc.) throws steady, if hardly sparkling, light on a career overshadowed by Freud's. A gift for coining apt and memorable names for his governing psychological concepts--``inferiority complex,'' ``sibling rivalry''--has meant that Alfred Adler's ideas currently enjoy greater renown than the man himself. But during his lifetime, Adler's accessible approach to child psychology, education, and social adjustment found a receptive audience, especially in the US, where his optimism (``Anyone can become anything,'' he proclaimed) struck more chords than did Freud's darker vision. Much to his own frustration, Adler was popularly associated with Freudian thought, from which he in fact broke well before WW I. Like Freud, Adler was a largely assimilated Viennese Jew who died abroad in exile from a hostile political climate. His movement, ``Individual Psychology,'' emphasized individual experience (rather than the unconscious drives posited by orthodox Freudianism) and denied the fundamental importance of the libido. Furthermore, whereas for Freud our tragic dilemma was that civilization could thrive only by denying and repressing our most basic urges, Adler believed humans to be instinctively social. In his view, what inhibited social energies or diverted them into inadequacy or aggression were ``mistakes'' in early childhood that led to neurotic overcompensation for a burning sense of inferiority, mistakes that could be set right through patient attention by parents, therapists, and educators. Adler's convictions were grounded too in social democratic principles that saw individual pathologies in the context of the social and economic whole. Hoffman chronicles Adler's life and ideas dutifully, recapitulating the familiar cultural landscape of fin de siŠcle Vienna and interwar America in a serviceable but rather pedestrian style marred by occasional awkwardness. A worthwhile effort, covering important ground competently. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
The earliest of Freud's adherents to break away and form his own system of psychological theory, Adler is responsible for such common concepts as the inferiority complex, the importance of birth order, and the "spoiled" child. Despite the fact that his central notion-that we humans develop from an innate desire to interact with others-is far more central to contemporary psychology than is Freud's idea of libidinal drives, no major biography of Adler has been written, perhaps because he did not establish a cohesive school of followers. Unfortunately, this book does not completely fill this gap. Perhaps because Adler was a talker, not a writer, Hoffman's study does not convey much sense of the man, nor does it systematically describe his theories. Josef Rattner's Alfred Adler (LJ 5/1/83) and Manes Soerber's Masks of Loneliness: Alfred Adler in Perspective (Macmillan, 1974) both offer more complete expositions of Adler's "individual psychology" accompanied by some biographical information. Not an essential purchase.
Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, Wash.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Da Capo Press, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110201441942
Book Description Perseus Books, 1997. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0201441942