Andreas Peglau’s remarkable study of Wilhelm Reich and of the fate of psychoanalysis under Nazism is a major and outstanding contribution to its subject. Painstakingly researched and lucidly argued, it radically overhauls the prevalent picture of Reich as some ‘half-crazed genius’ or ‘mildly paranoid’ Freudian renegade and reinstates the best period of his work (the late twenties to the end of the thirties) in the context it belongs to.
The cultural politics Reich wanted is more of a reality today thanks to the feminist struggles of the postwar period. But both the radical Left and psychoanalysis remain largely immune to the lessons of Reich and ‘sexual politics’, and this perhaps is the best reason why Peglau’s book is a fundamental contribution.
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