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Wilhelm Reich studied under Freud in Vienna and was a respected psychotherapist before his unorthodox ways got him kicked out of that particular circle. Reich viewed ALL neurosis as a result of an inability to experience full sexual release. He developed techniques to liberate the trapped emotional energy in the body he called "character armor." Reich saw how psychological health was inseparable from political and social realities and his work with the Communist Party caused the Nazis to evict him from Germany. He pursued his research in many countries, deported from all of them, before ending up in the United States where he was imprisoned in 1954 and a federal judge ordered that his books be incinerated. Modern body work and energy practices borrow many techniques from Reich, who is rarely credited. All but his latest books are currently in print and all provide a window into the ideas of this remarkable man.
Synopses & Reviews
A new autobiographical work by one of the most original and controversial thinkers of our time.
"I looked up every day from behind the bars to the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. Her light shone brightly into a dark night." With these words, Wilhelm Reich described his experience as an "enemy alien" imprisoned on Ellis Island in the aftermath of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.
American Odyssey, compiled from his correspondence and journals, chronicles Reich's first years in America. They were years of prodigious accomplishment in which he developed the orgone energy accumulator-the so-called orgone box; published his first books in English; made breakthroughs in his investigation of orgone energy in social pathology, physics, astronomy, and cancer; and interested none other than Albert Einstein in testing his theories. America brought a new marriage, a new son, a new group of students, and a new laboratory. But these were years of fierce struggle as well: the denial of an American medical license, the refusal of a patent on the orgone accumulator, and, finally, a slanderous article that would incite the Food and Drug Administration to the dogged attack on Reich that would continue until his death in another prison cell ten years later.
American Odyssey reveals more than a period in the life of an embattled scientist. It discloses the social and intellectual life of a country in a tumultuous time in history.
Book News Annotation:
Renegade Austrian psychoanalyst Reich arrived in the US in 1939, fleeing Hitler's Europe. His journals and letters of the next few years reveal a wide range of tones from messianic rant to cultural commentary. They discuss relations with his ex-wife and daughters, attempts to get Einstein to verify Reich's orgone box, the Average Little Man he blamed for Hitler and Mussolini, and other topics.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Wilhelm Reich's many works include Character Analysis, The Function of the Orgasm, The Cancer Biopathy, and two collections of earlier autobiographical writings, Passion of Youth and Beyond Psychology.
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