Books: Balancing on The Edge of Despair


by Richard Rhodes; Simon & Schuster; 271 pages; $19.95

Freud hoped that his mind science would teach people how to love and to work. Like most great notions, this one is simple to express but difficult to realize. Just how difficult is the subject of Richard Rhodes' account of his deprived childhood and struggle to escape its consequences. It is a story of modest dimensions but classic proportions, involving orphans, a wicked stepmother, lifesaving benefactors and years of psychoanalysis. It is a story that is painful to read and hard to put down.

Rhodes, 53, is...

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