cover image Menninger: The Family and the Clinic

Menninger: The Family and the Clinic

Lawrence Jacob Friedman. Alfred A. Knopf, $29.95 (472pp) ISBN 978-0-394-53569-2

In a scholarly and absorbing family biography and history of the Menninger Foundation, perhaps the foremost U.S. psychiatric treatment, training and research center, Friedman ( Gregarious Saints ), Bowling Green State University (Ohio) history professor, focuses on the social and emotional links uniting family and institution. Examined in light of developments in contemporary medicine and world events--notably the huge toll of psychiatric casualities in World War II--much of the story revolves around the rivalry between Menninger brothers Karl and Will, and power struggles among staff members, many of them European-trained emigres who advocated diverse schools of mental therapy. Thanks to the unprecedented access to clinic and personal archives and interviews, Friedman traces the Foundation's evolution since 1909 from a family-run organization to a corporate entity, a transformation masterminded by Will's son Roy--who wants to see to it that the clinic regains its ``united front'' national eminence despite ongoing sibling and factional rivalries. Photos not seen by PW. Psychology Book Club alternate. (June)