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Poorly written, lazily researched and generally misrepresentative.
on 22 August 2013
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').