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A Psychiatrist's World: The SelectedPapers ofKarl Menninger, M.D. Edited by Bernard H. Hall, M.D. New York: Viking Press, 1959. Pp. 931. $10.00. This book is not a biography. It is autobiographical inasmuch as Dr. Karl Menninger is the author ofits contents. American psychiatry has been enriched by the penetration of many contributions ofthis author. The topics here presented range from his ordinary relationships to the theoretical considerations ofpsychiatry. The book is divided into six parts, which in no sense parallel chronologically the life or work of "Dr. Karl." These parts are, in order: "The Man"; "The Clinician"; "The Theorist"; "The Teacher"; "The Psychiatrist Afield"; "The Historian ofPsychiatry." The best description of Menninger is the opening sentence of Part I, "The Man": "When a searching curiosity and a restless, boundless type ofvigor are mixed in proper proportions and rigorously disciplined, two things result—a staggering breadth of engagements with life and a prodigious productivity." This is probably the secret behind most individuals who are intellectually creative. The six parts are not equally strong. Part I, which is almost strictly anecdotal, is a series ofwritings touching upon a variety ofsubjects, including an original poem and reading notes jotted down after a book or an article had been read. They all throw light upon Menninger's nature. The clinical studies in Part IIrevealthe depth to which Menninger's mind was brought to bear upon such subjects as infectious diseases, neurological problems, psychosomatic difficulties, the problem of self-destructiveness, and, finally, his approach to diagnosis and treatment. As a theorist, he ranges far. Such a subject as "The Genius oftheJew in Psychiatry" is not only treated adequately but with considerable insight. Probably his best theorizing is shown in the two essays, "RegulatoryDevices of the Ego under Stress," and "Toward a Unitary Concept in Mental Illness." He became convinced that psychoanalytic theories ofhuman behavior are sound. It certainly is his beliefthat its formulations offer the best understanding ofpeople suffering mental illness. His discourses on teaching show considerable breadth in such subjects as public education and psychiatric education in particular. The five short essays on medicine and psychiatry illustrate the doctor's role as a teacher and leader, not only in the medical profession , but in the world community. KarlMenninger is anevangelist. His championship ofthe individual knows no bounds. His crusade in the field ofcrime for the rights ofthe person involved is fervent. The history ofpsychiatry owes much to the writings ofMenninger. Seven essays on this subject are among his best writings. Menninger, the analyst, is also a psychiatrist, but above all, he is a physician—one might even say philosopher-physician. He is also a medical pioneer. Kansas is his home, and what native Kansan ofhis generationfailed to get the pioneer spirit! He was one ofdie first physicians to complete psychoanalytical training. He holds certificate No. 1 from the Chicago Institute ofPsychoanalysis . Professor Bonner's recent history (published by the University ofKansas Press) entitled The Kansas Doctor, One Hundred Years ofPioneering, shows how vital and significant 574 Book Reviews Perspectives in Biology and Medicine · Summer i960 a role Menninger played in establishing die state's world-renowned mental healdi program . Dr. Hall and his committee have rendered a great service to American medical history and practice in bringing diese selected papers together, and with an extensive and wellconstructed index. The chronological listing ofall ofMenninger's writings is helpful, and reference notes add greatly to diis volume. Those ofus who have had the privilege of associating with the subject ofthis book know ofhis deep interest in all phases ofpsychiatric endeavor. It is with real affection that he is known to us as "Dr. Karl." Paul G. Roofe Department ofAnatomy University ofKansas 575 ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 574-575
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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