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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 3 November 2017
Very happy
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on 5 March 2004
I have been disappointed by other books in this series. Despite being a big Germaine Greer fan, I felt her introduction to Shakespeare lacked focus and was, frankly, boring.
But "Freud" was a definite exception. It engaged me right from the beginning and was pitched at exactly the right level - not too complex but not patronising either. As others have commented, Storr's style is elegent and carries you through the harder sections. I felt his opinions were balanced well. All too often people are either unquestioningly enthusiastic about Freud or completely write off all his ideas as worthless nonsense.
I did think the book lost its way slightly in the chapters on art and culture, but I think that was partly because I was less interested in those topics. The book acheives its aim to provide a solid but brief introduction. I am looking forward to moving on to a slightly more in-depth study.
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on 6 February 2004
The Oxford University Press 'A very short introduction to...' books are generally very good, and this is certainly no exception.
As with the others, it is not insulting to one's intelligence (An idiot's guide to...), doesn't assume that you can't understand anything more complicated than a cartoon (Introducing...), and still imparts a good basic knowledge of the man and his work.
There's no way that this book would be enough to understand everything, and certainly doesn't replace reading actual works, but it arms you with more than enough knowledge for everyday conversations.
The writing style is quite nice, and fairly easy to read, and a good degree of objectivity is shown throughout - in no way is this a homage to Freud.
Personally, I think that if you wish to gain a good understanding of basic worldly knowledge, this series of books is an excellent place to start, and your understanding of psychoanalysis, not just Freud, will be enhanced through this book.
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VINE VOICEon 11 December 2001
I think i first read this book in its prior incarnation as an oxford Past Master almost 10 years ago, whilst a medical student. Now as a practicing psychiatrist I still return to it again and again. Storr is a very elegant writer and was an excellent clinical psychiatrist and psychotherapist - this work demonstrates these attributes and is additionally the most concise and thorough introduction to Freud I know. I still recommend it to psychiatrists and medical students.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 September 2012
Anthony Storr's books always offer humane and down to earth accounts of human psychology from a psychoanalytical viewpoint, in the broadest sense. His books on creativity, music, solitude and gurus are remain excellent places to acquaint oneself with various theories of human nature.

This book on Freud is no exception, and will not disappoint, giving a wonderfully concise overview of his achievement. Freud's view of the unconscious and sexuality, his ideas such as the superego, id as well as the Oedipus complex are all discussed here, and critically assessed. It also summarises Freud's ideas on culture, jokes and anthropology and explains their influence.

Storr always was a qualified admirer of Freud, having trained in the Jungian tradition. Hence he is not frightened to be critical. But at the same time he also conveys what was important and great about this great thinker.

Having recently needed to an essay of psycho-dynamic ideas, this short book also provided an excellent reference point from which to navigate myself around Freud's thinking. My one criticism is referencing of quotations. It would have more been useful to know that one was lifted from say "The Interpretation of Dreams" rather than volume "x" of the "Standard Edition" which students are less likely to have access to.

That apart, this is remains of the best introductions to Freud anywhere with some interesting photographs together with the text.
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on 12 May 2012
This is a pretty clear and balanced account of Freud and his work.

Psychoanalysis has conquered the world, (if you can afford it) but as Popper (in my view) rightly observed, it is not science. It is in fact far worse than that. Freud strikes me as sexually obsessed by Pedophilia, which is why he sees it everywhere; where he uses infantile sexuality (his unproven invention) as a new form of original sin; where if you deny the fact, your denial is used of proof of your guilt, but where if you admit it, your admission justifies the Psychoanalyst (as replacement for ones confessor or priest). Freud is thus a Sexual Calvinist, where the only redemption is to hand oneself over (full of guilt) to the Psychoanalyst. Some of his ideas might have come straight from a Witch-doctors manual. So patently false, it is perhaps only because they are dressed in pseudo-science that few notice and others are too awed and afraid by his reputation to say so.

Psychoanalysis has thus in my view caused untold damage in the last century (the examples are too numerous to mention) where every social worker has imbibed these foolish idea, to create a witch-hunt for parents (usually the male parent) and rob the more sensitive adult of agency. Freud and his works deserve to be consigned to the dustbin of history (along with those of that monetary calvinist Marx - whose theories like Freuds are an attack on the family largely by attacking the father). Freud needs to be outed as just another Charlatan.
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on 24 August 2010
Once opened, can't be put down. If you are not broad minded, this book is not for you. I find Freud's views fascinating and this little guide is so full of knowledge it is a must have for those wanting to expand their mind.
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on 12 September 2010
... but everything to do with storytelling. And thankfully, storytelling is an area our author Athony Storr is pretty amply skilled in.

The book itself is divided into twelve chapters, which handily break down some of Freud's hefty ideas into bite-sized, single-sitting nuggets. They cover (roughly) five areas; firstly, a vague psychoanalytical portrait of the man himself; secondly, early influences and works; thirdly, the major theories from internal mental structures to the neurotic's potentially delusional construct of an acceptable external world; fourthly, the wider cultural implications of his ideas as hit on in `Civilization and its Discontents'; and then lastly a brief synopsis of where Freud stands now.

Given the VSI's pop remit, there are obvious hits and misses, which ultimately break down to editorial constraints. So early on we're told that, "Freud himself, as one might expect from the character sketch given, concentrated on anal traits", which lends a chuckle, but nowhere are we told about Freud's personal experiences of psychological distress, which contributed so much to his own creative process.

Most importantly though, the clear message from this book is that no matter what you think of the Freudian paradigm, and opinions range wildly, Freud's influence in creating a non-judgemental theatre where an individual can freely associate with themself, and develop along the way a "greater understanding of their own strengths and limitations", validating their own "individual subjective experience", is something of unquestionable significance and relief for many people given the "feeling's of helplessness" that modern Western culture is so often guilty of seeding.

Good solid introduction, go buy.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 30 July 2012
I found this book to be a superb introduction not just to Freud but to the core concepts of psychoanalysis as a whole. Don't be fooled (or put off) by the title saying it is a "short" introduction, there is nothing short or shallow about this book. Thanks to the fairly small print it actually contains a huge amount of information.

The balance between factual information about Freud's life and also explanations of psychoanalysis basics is spot on. And all of this presented in a writing style that is layperson friendly without overly dumbing it down.

If you have a thirst to find out about the subject or about Freud himself I cannot imagine any better book than this.
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on 18 April 2012
Very good, leads you through freud without being patronising. Maybea little too dry for some who just want the very basics of freud. But otherwise a very good introduction.
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