Referred to as "the father of psychoanalysis," Sigmund Freud is credited with championing the "talking cure" and charting the human unconscious. Both revered and reviled, he was a brilliant innovator but also a man of troubling contradictions-sometimes tyrannical, often misrepresenting the course and outcome of his treatments to make the "facts" match his theories. Peter D. Kramer-acclaimed author, practicing psychiatrist, and a leading national authority on mental health-offers a stunning new take on this controversial figure. Kramer is at once critical and sympathetic, presenting Freud the mythmaker, the storyteller, the writer whose books will survive among the classics of our literature, and the genius who transformed the way we see ourselves.
My biggest problem with it is probably the most obvious one: the subtitle. I think that a better match would have been "savant or charlatan?" to lift a (quoted) phrase from the book itself. But it's still a good biography that shows what Freud was really like.... and based on the information presented, I myself would have to say (judge) that he was (at least) a little bit of both.
Sometimes the biographer gets a little difficult about Freud being Part of the Canon (TM), but this didn't rise to too aggravating of a level for me. And it was a little lucky, since contemporary students of medicine, psychology, etc. seem a little reluctant to talk about this guy (since it's obvious how he can be the profession's embarrassing uncle), but I couldn't help but be interested, at least from the biographical point-of-view, about what the story was, since he's certainly a influence on the popular imagination (Freud: the bobble-head), if nothing else. So it was nice to get a version of his life that showed a little bit of what he was really like and why his reputation has declined, without becoming the armchair admiral about the past hero, which is always the temptation when dealing with one of these guys.
So it was one of those biographies that was valuable in inverse proportion to its being a hagiography-- where approving of the biographer is quite distinct from the subject-- but in that context I found it to be a passable success.