The Memoirs of Margaret S. Mahler

Paul E. Stepansky, Author, Margaret S. Mahler, Author Free Press $24.95 (179p) ISBN 978-0-02-931260-5
More than any other child psychoanalyst, Mahler, who died in 1985, showed that a child's sense of identity is a hard-won achievement. She not only mapped the distinct stages in the toddler's separation from the nurturing mother but also explored the damage that could result if this natural sequence failed to unfold. Assembled from interviews, this posthumous memoir contains bitingly candid portraits: Helen Deutsch, Mahler's training analyst, is characterized as a spiteful, malicious empress full of condescension; Anna Freud hardly fares better; and Austrian clinician August Aichhorn (Mahler was his pupil and lover) used her as a tool in his war against the Viennese psychoanalytical establishment. Hungarian-born Mahler left Freud's Vienna in the 1930s and settled in New York where she convinced a skeptical psychiatric establishment that children can become deeply disturbed, to the point of psychosis. Stepansky is a psychiatric researcher at Cornell University Medical College. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1988
Release date: 06/01/1988
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-0-88163-168-5
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