REVIEWSrnFreudianism and ItsrnDiscontentsrnhv William KilpatrickrnFreudian Fraud: The MalignantrnEffect of Freud’s Theory onrnAmerican Thought and Culturernby i’l Fuller Torrey, M.D.rnNew York: liarperCollirK;rn362 pp., $25.00rnFreudian Fraud has an intriguing butrndifficult-to-provc thesis, namelv thatrnFreudian thought radicalh alteredrnAmerican society for the worse. An “auditrnof Freud’s American account,” savsrnTorre, shows more debits than credits.rnHe beliexcs the chief liability inherentrnin the Freudian system is its tendencyrnto undermine traditional notions of responsibilit-.rn”Don’t blame me, blame my parents”rnhas been a constant refrain in Americanrntherap and American life ever sincernbVcud’s ideas came to these shores. AsrnTorrcN points out in a chapter on thernI’Vcudianization of criminolog’, it wasrnjust such a defense that was put forwardrnin the sensational IjCopold-Loeb trial ofrn1924. Defense lawer Clarence DarrowrnsimpK passed the buck for the crime ontornthe parents of Fcopold and Locb.rnWilliam Alanson White, one of thernthree psychiatrists who testified for therndefense later called for “the discarding ofrnthe concept of responsibility” for criminalrnbehavior. The same theme of nonrcsponsibilitv,rnsa s Torrey, can be foundrnin current therapy fads such as the inner-rnchild movement. lie quotes JohnrnBradshaw, one of the movement leaders,rnas saing, “A lot of what wc considerrnto be normal parenting is actually abusirnc.” In Torrey’s view, however, adultsrnhac more important things to do thanrnlick their childhood wounds.rnIn tracing the history of Freudianrnthought in American culture, Torreyrnsucceeds in showing the presence of influentialrnI’Vcudians at crucial juncturesrnand crucial places: in Greenwich Villagernin the teens and cady 20’s, on the staffrnof the Partisan Review in the 30’s andrn4()’s, in Hollywood in the 4()’s and SO’s,rnamong campus radicals in the 6()’s (viarnthe influence of Herbert Marcuse, NormanrnO. Brown, and Paul Goodman).rnHe also traces the influence of FVeud onrnchild care (mainly through the writingsrnof Benjamin Spock) and on criminologyrn(the chief carrier in this case being KarlrnMcnninger). He attempts, in addition,rnto tie the ups and downs of Freudianismrnto larger historical forces. The fortunesrnof the Freudian faith took a tumblernwith the ascendancy of geneticrntheories in the 20’s, then rose again inrnthe 30’s when those same theories becamernidentified with Nazism. The Nazirnperiod also saw a significant transfer ofrnEuropean psychoanalysts to America,rnand this, Torrey suggests, is the mainrnreason Freudian theory took its strongestrnroot in this country.rnTorrey’s discussions of “race, immigrationrnand the nature-nurture debate”rnand of “the sexual polihcs of Ruth Benedictrnand Margaret Mead” are among thernmost interesting in the book. We learnrnabout anthropologist Franz Boas’s battlernwith the “Anglo elite,” the role of thernDepression in forcing newly poor Americansrnto question the genetic theory ofrnpoverty, and the great success of Boas’srnproteges, Margaret Mead and RuthrnBenedict, in bringing victory to the naturernside of the nature-nurture controversy.rnTorrcN’ makes a convincing casernthat both Mead and Benedict allowedrntheir work to be influenced by personalrnsexual agendas and that both were slioddrnresearchers. Benedict had no firsthandrnknowledge of two of the three culturesrnshe compared in Patterns ofrnCulture, and Mead’s Coming of Age inrnSamoa seems to have been based onrngross disinformation.rnThese excursions into anthropologyrnare so interesting that one almost forgetsrnto ask a basic question: where doesrnFreud fit in? Although Torrey establishesrnthe existence of a strong Freudian influencernon Boas, Mead, and Benedict,rnhe fails to convince that their work isrnmainly an effect of Freudianism. Onerncould, for example, argue that the influencernof Rousseau on the Americanrnanthropologists yvas just as powerful asrnthe influence of Freud.rnThe main problem with Ibrrcv’s analysisrnis that, in order to make his ease, hernoften reduces Freudianism to one mainrnidea: the determinative nature of eadyrncliildhood experiences. If Freudianismrnis taken to mean that and nothing else,rnthen his ease holds up. But his thesis isrnsomewhat less tenable yvhen we considerrnthe wide-ranging and complex naturernof Freud’s thought. For example, muchrnof what Freud had to say about civilizationrnand repression is at the oppositernpole from Margaret Mead’s iews on thernsame subjects. Some of Torrey’s complaintsrnseem more appropriately directedrnat popularizers of Freud than at Freudrnhimself.rnNevertheless, Torrey, whose earlierrnbook on the psychiatric incarcerationrnof Ezra Pound is highly regarded, deservesrnto be taken seriousi)’. FreudianrnFraud raises important and provocativernquestions about the influence of psychoanalyticrntheory on American culture.rnWhile one can disagree with Torreyrnabout the degree and scope of that influence,rnit is difficult to deny that in therncourse of this century—which Torreyrncalls the “Freudian centurv”—we havernexchanged a good deal of practical wisdomrnabout the conduct of life for a goodrndeal of highly speculative notions thatrnhave only served to make our lives morerncomplicated than they need to be.rnWilliam Kilpatrick is a professor ofrneducation at Boston College and thernauthor of the recently published WhyrnJohnny Can’t Tell Right F’rom Wrongrn(Simon & Schuster).rnActs of Lifernby fames W. TuttletonrnThe Correspondence of Henry Jamesrnand Henry Adams: 1877-1914rnEdited by George MonteirornBaton Rouge and London: LouisianarnState University Press; 107 pp., $20.00rnThe nearly lifelong friendship ofrnHenry Adams and Henr}’ James,rnboth now accepted as writers of towenngrnstature, was one of the most engagingrnyet contrary relationships in our literaryrnhistory. And to experience it—in therncorrespondence that George MonteirornlANUARY 1993/33rnrnrn