on 16 March 2005
This small but deadly book might have been titled "Jung strips bare his biographers" for in it, historian of psychology Sonu Shamdasani takes Jung's own words, meticulously researched and documented, and uses them to expose the factual inaccuracy of nearly every biography of Jung ever written. It's a challenging book because as each fabrication is unearthed we get closer to the facts about Jung but further from his truth. It's a shame Shamdasani doesn't go on to explore why Jung the man generates so many unsupportable stories, but speculation isn't Shamdasani's style. He prefers to use scholarship as a deadly weapon, which he does with devastating precision, leaving behind a staggering body count of reputations. If you have read a biography of Jung, read Shamdasani and find out how little you really know, as I have.
on 17 May 2013
this is *not* a biography of jung but a review of previous biographies.
shamdasani reviews the prior biographies of jung in a dispassionate manner. his research is first rate (which is very rare in this field) and his prose is lucid. the book is very short. shamdasani aims to merely point out the errors or inadequacies in prior biograhpies. this is needed, but one wonders if this really had to be a book, as opposed to, say, a series of blog posts.
as mentioned, the scholarship is much welcomed yet shamdasani also has an agenda in defending jung from charges of mysticism and the fact that almost everything about his life and thought has fallen into such a messy state where almost nothing (not the his collected works, not the popular biographies, nor his correspondance) is laid out before the public in a clear manner. to my mind, it is amply obvious that jung himself contributed to this confusion. i think shamdasani knows this as well, but yet he attemps to skirt around it, portraying the confusion as merely the work of others.
finally, i must say that the kindle version had noticeable errors of formatting and typos. nothing dramatic. but annoying.
on 8 November 2014
As other reviewers note, this book aims not so much at revealing a 'naked' Jung, but at the stripping and shaming of Jung's other biographers. Not an analyst himself, Shamdasani has made his reputation on the back of his researches into C G Jung, and it is hard to believe that he demolishes the work of so many fellow writers from a disinterested position. Useful though it is to know where rival biographers have fabricated or made mistakes (few readers would buy poor Dierdre Bair's biography of Jung having read Shamdasani's dismissal of it), there is something cruel about this book. Perhaps Shamdasani is writing the comparative review which he never had. If Shamdasani prizes his eye for detail he might well direct it into proofreading his own texts. He is only a moderately-good translator and his English has some infelicities of style. As Giegerich remarks, the German word Übersinn is inadequately translated in the Red Book as "Supreme Meaning". "Over-meaning" would remind the reader of the undoubted influence on Jung of Nietzsche. There are spelling mistakes and clumsinesses in Shamdasani's Kindle translation of the Red Book, (split infinitives, and 'discrete' instead of 'discreet'), for example. This comes across as semi-educated, and more importantly it misrepresents the tone of Jung's writing. In 'Lament of the Dead' we find the word immanent twice spelled as imminent. In 'Jung Stripped Bare' there are typos, including one mis-spelling of Shamdasani's own unhappy neologism "interprefaction". I bought the book wanting to know more about Jung. Instead I found Shamdasani enjoying his ego trip. Take a look at Dierdre Bair's open letter to Shamdasani for further evidence of that.
on 5 August 2010
Yes to the review above. Endlich sauber und akademisch - Ich mußte dieses Buch ohne abzusetzen in einem Rutsch lesen. Wie S. die Biographen sauber zerlegt, welch ein Genuß. Es gibt sie noch, die der Wahrheit Verpflichteten.
Ich hatte schon bei Gerhard Wehr dieses Gefühl, hier stimmt was nicht. S. liefert all die Informationen , um den vorsätzlichen Rufmord der Freudianer bis zum dümmlichen Geschwätz dümmlicher Biographen zu durchschauen.
Wer über Jung sich informieren will, nun da gibt es wohl nur S' s Bücher.
Volker H. Schendel, Hannover