Heinz Kohut by Charles Strozier
The Making of a Psychoanalyst

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Heinz Kohut (1913-1981) was at the center of the twentieth-century psychoanalytic movement. After fleeing his native Vienna when the Nazis took power there, he came to Chicago, where he spent the rest of his life. He became the most creative figure in the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis and is now remembered as the founder of "self psychology," whose emphasis on empathy sought to make Freudian psychoanalysis more compassionate.

Kohut's was a life that invited complexity. He obfuscated his identity as a Jew, negotiated a protean sexuality, and could be surprisingly secretive about his health and other matters. In this biography, Charles B. Strozier shows us Kohut as a paradigmatic figure in American intellectual life: a charismatic man whose ideas embodied the hope and confusions of a still unsettled country. Inherent in his life and formulated in his work were the core issues of modem America. He touched the pulse.

The years after World War II were the halcyon days of American psychoanalysis, which thrived as one analyst after another expanded upon Freud's insights. The gradual erosion of the discipline's humanism, however, began to trouble clinicians and patients alike. Heinz Kohut took the lead in the creation of the first authentically home-grown psychoanalytic movement. It took an émigré to be so distinctly American.

Strozier brings to his telling of Kohut's life all the tools of a skillful analyst: intelligence, erudition, empathy, contrary insight, and a willingness to look far below the surface.


About Charles Strozier

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Charles B. Strozier is a psychoanalyst & the author of "Lincoln's Quest for Union" & "Apocalypse: On the Psychology of Fundamentalism in America". He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Published May 1, 2001 by Farrar Straus Giroux. 432 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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While Strozier’s writing rarely sings, it does possess a choppy syncopation that is easy to read, chock-a-block with information, and not without a wicked humor—as in this comment on Kohut’s disastrous first day as an intern: “Kohut managed not to kill too many more patients after that and succes...

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I can now testify that he was an extremely skillful confabulator: from Strozier, I have learned that much of what Kohut told me about himself -- Use the Search box at the top of the page to find book and journal content.

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His beliefs may have had little bearing on his attitude toward Kohut as an individual, but they have compromised his ability to assess Kohut's contributions to psychoanalysis in a balanced manner.

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