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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
This book was absolutely fascinating. A factual and gently un-judgemental account of Willhelm Reich's life as a rogue thinker, and a perpetual outcast, and refugee (in some sense, both intellectually and physically). While his ideas seem crazy and irrational initially to a modern observer looking back at them, the seem by and large to have come about with a large degree...
Published 6 months ago by Alan H

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written, lazily researched and generally misrepresentative.
Having read many books about Wilhelm Reich, (by authors both pro and con this controversial figure), I can say that this is by far the most poorly written and woefully misrepresentative. A brief review of (a) the published works of Ilse Ollendorff, Peter Reich, Charles Kelley, Alexander Lowen, Elsworth Baker, Myron Sharaf or Morton Herskowitz (all of whom actually knew...
Published 16 months ago by J. East


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written, lazily researched and generally misrepresentative., 22 Aug 2013
By 
J. East "Watching" (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Having read many books about Wilhelm Reich, (by authors both pro and con this controversial figure), I can say that this is by far the most poorly written and woefully misrepresentative. A brief review of (a) the published works of Ilse Ollendorff, Peter Reich, Charles Kelley, Alexander Lowen, Elsworth Baker, Myron Sharaf or Morton Herskowitz (all of whom actually knew Reich and had first hand experience of him and his work), and (b) Reich's own voluminous writings, quickly reveal that the picture inferred of Reich's character by Turner's book is unjustifiably hostile. In the matter of Reich's science and cultural influence the book is equally of little value to the serious researcher. Eg; The author lazily repeats anti-Reich propaganda from the 1940s, stating yet again that Reich claimed he could cure cancer etc. Over and over again in Reich's journals & books he strived to make clear that he did not have a cure for cancer and that whilst he was involved in research into finding one he didn't have it yet, many of his experimental subjects (mostly terminal patients given up by their own doctors) dying from various complications of his orgone treatment. Yet Turner omits all that public domain material - published by Reich himself - to just instead paint Reich as a charlatan, putting wild claims (that Reich never actually made) into his mouth. Why Turner repeatedly does this throughout his tiresomely unfocussed prose is not clear. But what is self-evident is that anyone seeking an accurate understanding of Reich's life and work would be better off looking to the following books:
Fury on Earth by Myron Sharaf
Wilhelm Reich; the evolution of his work by David Boadella
Wilhelm Reich vs The USA by Jerome Greenfield
Wilhelm Reich; a personal Biography by Ilse Ollendorff.
Reich's four autobiographical volumes; A Passion of Youth, Beyond Psychology, American Odyssey and Where's the Truth?
Reich's The Function of the Orgasm & The Cancer Biopathy, (elements of which are contained within his 'Selected Writings').
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4.0 out of 5 stars The story of orgone, 15 July 2014
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Wilhelm Reich was once thought of as Freud's successor; but his ideas became progressively stranger. He invented orgone, a substance extracted from the aether in his orgasmatron, to spice up your sex life; amazingly, he had a large following, including AS Neil of Summerhill, the 'progressive' school.

Reich almost certainly became a schizophrenic, albeit a high functioning one. His story is quite amazing. And if you think you need an orgone accumulator, these are still available.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 21 Jun 2014
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This book was absolutely fascinating. A factual and gently un-judgemental account of Willhelm Reich's life as a rogue thinker, and a perpetual outcast, and refugee (in some sense, both intellectually and physically). While his ideas seem crazy and irrational initially to a modern observer looking back at them, the seem by and large to have come about with a large degree of integrity and well meaning. Fascinating read.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read., 4 Oct 2012
By 
Master D. C. Hill "Daniel H" (Bournemouth, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Adventures in the Orgasmatron: Wilhelm Reich and the Invention of Sex: How Renegade Europeans Conceived the American Sexual Revolution and Gave Birth to the Permissive Society (Hardcover)
To think that I nearly didn't buy this book based on a quick glance at some negative reviews posted on nearly every website I viewed. A closer look made me realise that they were left by someone of a certain Reichian persuasion.
I couldn't put this biography down, from Reich's early years in Europe and Freud's psychoanalytic community, to his travels across to the states and his (unintentional) influence on the counter culture movement that developed in the 50's and sixties, including the likes of William Burroughs and Henry Miller.
The book chronicles so many interesting characters and periods in history, I was really impressed by the depth of the writers research.
I didn't find Turner's portrayal of Reich to be unsympathetic at all, just a warts and all account of a very complex and disturbed man. As far as Reich is concerned, I think it seemed to be a case of "just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't after you".
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8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Yellow Journalism filled with Sexual Slander, 15 Dec 2011
By 
J. DeMeo "naturalenergyworks" (Oregon, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Adventures in the Orgasmatron: Wilhelm Reich and the Invention of Sex: How Renegade Europeans Conceived the American Sexual Revolution and Gave Birth to the Permissive Society (Hardcover)
This book is filled with salacious sexual slander and distortions about the life and work of Wilhelm Reich. The author puts on the airs of scholarship, but many of his cites don't check out, and the work is riddled with outright lies and fabrications, as well as relying upon gossip, rumor and hearsay which no serious scholar would give credence to. Omissions of centrally-important materials the author Turner knows about, but refuses to mention, litter his pages. This is no scholarship, just a hit-piece conjured up by the Skeptic's Society, and the publisher utterly failed to do even a modicum of fact checking. It is a total wasteland, not recommended unless you are studying the pathology of modern "journalism". This book is classified as "non-fiction", but guaranteed, mostly fiction it is!

If you want to read a half-baked bit of history, punctuated by every dirty lie, crummy accusation and third-hand claim hurled against Reich over his lifetime and in the decades after his death, by the Nazis, Communists, psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, skeptic-clubbers and Food-and-Drug thugs, but not always having them identified as such, then get this book. It is written for those who would snigger like an idiot whenever the word "orgasm" is read. We are led to question, why people who never had one always are out to lynch Wilhelm Reich, who wrote the definitive book Function of the Orgasm (Condor Books) (Condor Books) well before Woody Allen was born or made his silly movie where a fictional "orgasmatron" was in the plot.

In this book Turner wears the hat of lecturing moralist, who throws mud and then says "see, look how muddy he is". He is our new Inspector Javert, persecuting Wilhelm Reich -- his Jean Valjean -- over all the years of his life. Except in this case, Reich has been dead for decades, having had his books burned by the FDA, and dying in a prison cell on trumped up charges, fabricated by people who are the spiritual mentors of Mr. Turner. But author Turner is not dissuaded by such tragedy, as he follows in the footsteps of the Nazis and Communists who also tried to kill Reich, and then in the tracks of hack writers of the 1950s, who smeared Reich relentlessly in the USA. He doggedly pursues every shred of rumor, gossip and innuendo ever uttered or written against this hunted and hounded man, WR, who as scientist and physician brought only light and benefit into the world. His orgone accumulator is denigrated by Turner in the usual manner, with a very old distortion, that it was used for sexual purposes, insinuating Reich masturbated his patients, and other outrageous things. He knows about at least some of the scientific studies confirming the accumulator's biological and physical effects (ie,The Orgone Accumulator Handbook: Wilhelm Reich's Life-Energy Discoveries and Healing Tools for the 21st Century, with Construction Plans) but deliberately censors this out, concealing important facts from the reader. Many pages of citations, but not the ones that really matter, and which fully undermine his conclusions. Lies of Omission, as Orwell noted, are the worst kind of lie. But then, we've come to expect no less from Reich's detractors.

I suppose this is what passes for literary critique among the inteligencia of high-brow society today. "Too clever by half" comes to mind. If factual discussion is your interest, you have to look elsewhere, such as in Reich's own works, after which you'll understand why nearly 60 years after his death, people are still reading Reich. I doubt if Turner's works will last 6.

For a factual biography, read Sharaf's Fury on Earth: A Biography of Wilhelm Reich. For summary materials on the science behind the orgone accumulator, and what it can and cannot do regarding human health, read Reich's The Cancer Biopathy, or Wilhelm Reich Selected Writings: An Introduction to Orgonomy. With a bit of searching, you can easily find other authentic works, by other scientists and physicians who made serious investigations of Reich's science, and confirmed much of it.

A comprehensive review of Turner's book, detailing specific flaws and deceit, can be found on-line by a websearch of the phrase -Critical Review of Turner Orgasmatron-
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Orgasmic Life?, 25 Jun 2012
This review is from: Adventures in the Orgasmatron: Wilhelm Reich and the Invention of Sex: How Renegade Europeans Conceived the American Sexual Revolution and Gave Birth to the Permissive Society (Hardcover)
The man bought to life in this book is a fascinating mix of the charismatic and self deluded. He appears to have an unshakable faith in his own ideas and an ability to attract followers. I felt that the author was even handed in the way he approached the subject. He puts forward suggestions, sometimes gleaned from interviews with friends, colleauges and close family members, about what may have driven Reich but he doesn't dictate to the reader.
I especially enjoyed the early chapters about Reich's relationship with Freud and the evolution of his own theories. I felt that the book floundered and lost its way a bit when Reich did likewise. The later chapters jumped around a bit and the narative thread was lost. I felt this especially after Reich's death, when dealing with his legacy. There was an interesting digression to Friz Perls, but I wanted to know what was happening to Reich's followers and why he still has beliver's who feel protective of him, even today. Despite this it was a well researched and interesting read.
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9 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Yellow Journalism filled with Sexual Slander, Distortions and Lies!, 27 Jun 2011
By 
J. DeMeo "naturalenergyworks" (Oregon, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Yellow Journalism filled with Sexual Slander, Distortions and Lies!

This book is filled with salacious sexual slander and distortions about the life and work of Wilhelm Reich. The author puts on the airs of scholarship, but many of his cites don't check out, and the work is riddled with outright lies and fabrications, as well as relying upon gossip, rumor and heresay which no serious scholar would give credence to. Omissions of centrally-important materials the author Turner knows about, but refuses to mention, litter his pages. This is no scholarship, just a hit-piece conjured up by the Skeptic's Society, and the publisher utterly failed to do even a modicum of fact checking. It is a total wasteland, not recommended unless you are studying the pathology of modern "journalism". This book is classified as "non-fiction", but guaranteed, mostly fiction it is!

If you want to read a half-baked bit of history, punctuated by every dirty lie, crummy accusation and third-hand claim hurled against Reich over his lifetime and in the decades after his death, by the Nazis, Communists, psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, skeptic-clubbers and Food-and-Drug thugs, but not always having them identified as such, then get this book. It is written for those who would snigger like an idiot whenever the word "orgasm" is read. We are led to question, why people who never had one always are out to lynch Wilhelm Reich, who wrote the definitive book Function of the Orgasm: Discovery of the Orgone well before Woody Allen was born or made his silly movie where a fictional "orgasmatron" was in the plot.

In this book Turner wears the hat of lecturing moralist, who throws mud and then says "see, look how muddy he is". He is our new Inspector Javert, persecuting Wilhelm Reich -- his Jean Valjean -- over all the years of his life. Except in this case, Reich has been dead for decades, having had his books burned by the FDA, and dying in a prison cell on trumped up charges, fabricated by people who are the spiritual mentors of Mr. Turner. But author Turner is not dissuaded by such tragedy, as he follows in the footsteps of the Nazis and Communists who also tried to kill Reich, and then in the tracks of hack writers of the 1950s, who smeared Reich relentlessly in the USA. He doggedly pursues every shred of rumor, gossip and inuendo ever uttered or written against this hunted and hounded man, WR, who as scientist and physician brought only light and benefit into the world. His orgone accumulator is denigrated by Turner in the usual manner, with a very old lie, that it was used for sexual purposes. The "orgasm box", etc. He knows about at least some of the scientific studies confirming the accumulator's biological and physical effects, but deliberately censors this out, concealing important facts from the reader. Many pages of citations, but not the ones that really matter, and which fully undermine his conclusions. Lies of Omission, as Orwell noted, are the worst kind of lie. But then, we've come to expect no less from Reich's detractors.

I suppose this is what passes for literary critique among the intelligencia of high-brow society today. "Too clever by half" comes to mind. If factual discussion is your interest, you have to look elsewhere, such as in Reich's own works, after which you'll understand why nearly 60 years after his death, people are still reading Reich. I doubt if Turner's works will last 6.

For a factual biography, read Sharaf's Fury On Earth. For summary materials on the science behind the orgone accumulator, and what it can and cannot do regarding human health, read Reich's Cancer Biopathy, or Selected Writings: An Introduction to Orgonomy. With a bit of searching, you can easily find other authentic works, by other scientists and physicians who made serious investigations of Reich's science, and confirmed much of it.
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read, 28 April 2012
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This review is from: Adventures in the Orgasmatron: Wilhelm Reich and the Invention of Sex: How Renegade Europeans Conceived the American Sexual Revolution and Gave Birth to the Permissive Society (Hardcover)
I seriously believe that Willhiem Reich was mental and this is the latest in a long line of books I have read about his life that has led me to this conclusion. The or gone rays are just not giving me happy feelings today :-(
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