Appointment in Vienna: An American Psychoanalyst Recalls Her Student Days in Pre-War Austria

Esther Menaker, Author St. Martin's Press $18.95 (205p) ISBN 978-0-312-02542-7
Menaker's deftly written memoir offers a gripping, vitriolic firsthand glimpse of Vienna's psychoanalytic subculture in its heyday. In 1930, the author, then 23, and her husband Bill, 34, both eager Freudian converts, set out from New York to train at Vienna's Psychoanalytic Institute. Menaker retrospectively turns the tables on her analyst, Anna Freud, whom she found belittling, domineering and bluntly insensitive. Her husband's psychoanalysis with Helen Deutsch was equally disappointing. Surrounded by poverty, unemployment, beggars and rampant anti-Semitism, Menaker was appalled at her mentors' seeming lack of social or political concern, their noninterest in the way cultural factors impinged on the individual. Author of Otto Rank , psychology professor at New York University and a practicing psychotherapist, Menaker believes that the classical therapist-patient relationship is nonreciprocal and tends to make the patient passive and dependent. Her withering profiles of Vienna's Freudian elite reflect her stance. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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