BOOKS: HERO OR HUMBUG?

A DISCERNING BIOGRAPHY ANALYZES THE LIFE OF A FAMED CHILD THERAPIST

Seldom has anyone fallen from hero to humbug faster than Dr. Bruno Bettelheim. After he killed himself in 1990 at age 86, obituaries hailed Bettelheim as a giant of psychotherapy, a survivor of two Nazi prison camps (Dachau and Buchenwald) who pioneered in the treatment of emotionally troubled children. In 18 books (including Love Is Not Enough and The Uses of Enchantment) and dozens of articles and TV appearances, he was an all-knowing guru to millions on topics ranging from the meaning of fairy tales to parent-child relations.

Within months, however, Bettelheim's reputation was in tatters. Former students at the University...

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