Join Dick Russell as he tells the first half of the story of James Hillman, a man hell bent on restoring soul's rightful place in our lives, the world... oh, and the therapy rooms of post-Jungian psychology. Through a careful mix of historical sources, letters, books, and interviews with Hillman and his friends and family, the remarkable story of this remarkable writer slowly unfolds.
As we might expect from the biography of the man who encouraged us to read our own lives backwards (in his 1996 book "The Soul's Code"), Hillman and his biographer interpret this story of a life in the terms of the soul-making world view that emerges from it. We see key moments in Hillman's life and how they influenced Hillman's thinking and awakened him to his daemon's hand. It's theory bought to life by the story of a life.
The book covers the first half of Hillman's life from its ancestral beginnings in 1926 to his departure from Zurich in 1967 under a cloud but not in one. This gives its subject time to grow down [sic!] in the boardwalk empire of Atlantic city, serve in the army, stumble around the world, land in Zurich and train as a Jungian analyst, write some books and give some lectures that upset the old guard, get himself in trouble, and emerge with the foundations of an archetypal psychology, his calling, tantalising in place but not yet fully realised.
Whether psychologist, Hillmaniac, myth maker, soul seeker, or just lover of a good story, there's something for you in this tale of a life well told. I expect you'll have trouble putting it down, as I did, and will join me in urging its author to hurry up with the sequel!
PS: Given the subject's love of the aesthetic, I find it ironic that the physical object of this book [US first edition] is so ugly: Commercially set for maximum page count and printed on nasty paper (with no acid-free assertion), compare it to the beautiful Hillman Uniform Edition... and weep.