cover image The Organism

The Organism

Kurt Goldstein. Zone Books (NY), $44.95 (422pp) ISBN 978-0-942299-96-0

In this age of computer-based, reductionist models of the human mind, Goldstein's (1878-1965) pioneering statement on holistic health, written in 1934 in Holland, where he emigrated to escape Nazi Germany, is welcome, especially since the U.S. edition has been out of print for decades. An influential German neurologist and psychologist who taught and practiced medicine in the U.S., where he settled the following year, Goldstein stresses the seamless activity of the whole organism, arguing that there is no independent realm of ``body'' or ``mind.'' Disease, in his system, is an expression of the disturbed relationship between an organism and its environment; recovery is a newly achieved adaptation, not merely a return to a previous equilibrium. Using illustrative material ranging from brain-damaged soldiers to repression of childhood memories, this dense, philosophically informed study reevaluates such concepts as anxiety, dread, instinct, drives, the unconscious and the nature of physical and mental illness. (June)