Cover image for Sigmund Freud : pioneer of the mind
Sigmund Freud : pioneer of the mind
Reef, Catherine.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Clarion Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
152 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Reading Level:
1050 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 8.5 5.0 51228.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 8.4 9 Quiz: 25541 Guided reading level: Z.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF109.F74 R44 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Few historical figures have captured the public imagination as completely as Sigmund Freud. At a time when many ailments of the mind were treated with soothing baths or dangerous electroshock therapy, Freud initiated a novel practice: he simply listened to his patients. He called his method of treatment psychoanalysis, or "the talking cure." Though the validity of Freud's theories is still widely debated, there is little doubt that his contributions to the study of the mind were invaluable. In this compelling, even-handed biography, Catherine Reef explains Freud's groundbreaking theories and methods and shows how Freudian thought has affected our culture, changing the way we think about everything from art and literature to raising children. Beautiful archival family photographs round out this intimate look at a fascinating man. Endnotes, bibliography, index.

Author Notes

Catherine Reef received a degree in English from Washington State University. She began her career as a writer at Washington State, where she created brochures for the College of Pharmacy and developed the university's first research magazine. She is the author of more than 35 nonfiction books for young people. She has received several awards including the Joan G. Sugarman Children's Book Award for Walt Whitman in 1996, the Sydney Taylor Award for Sigmund Freud: Pioneer of the Mind in 2002, and a Golden Kite Honor Award for Ernest Hemingway: A Writer's Life in 2010.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7-12. Today the name Freud often conjures up crude jokes about cigars and overly attentive mothers, so we often forget how the late-nineteenth-century psychoanalyst transformed our world: we see echoes of his work not only in science but also in everything from literature to daytime TV. When he was a young man, Freud's voracious, often unfocused desire for knowledge led him in numerous directions--from politics to medicine and finally to psychoanalysis. In tracing his life and career, Reef captures the hit-and-miss nature of scientific discovery as she shows Freud refining, redirecting, and even abandoning his theories as his understanding of human behavior changed. She also shows readers the interplay between science and society: the Victorians were appalled by Freud's sexual talk, but his revolutionary ideas eventually became mainstream. In the end, Reef makes it clear that although Freud's individual theories mattered greatly, they were less important than his leading us to new ways of looking at ourselves. Appended with source notes, a bibliography, glossary, and index. --Randy Meyer

Publisher's Weekly Review

Reef's (John Steinbeck; Walt Whitman) piercing biography deftly interprets the life of the father of psychoanalysis and one of the most influential men of the 20th century. From the first page, the author conjures the doctor's office and analytic approach, so that readers gain a sense of what his patients experienced and Freud's underlying theories. "Like an archaeologist of the mind, Freud waited for his patient's words to reveal their hidden messages: long-lost memories and unconscious desires." The author then traces his journey from early childhood as the favorite son to his escape from the Nazis. Freud emerges as a tirelessly determined scientist committed to helping patients wrestle demons and willing to face public ridicule for his convictions. The text hits controversy head-on, illuminating the strong backlash against Freud's emphasis on sexuality in his lifetime, his belief in the importance of a psychiatrist's self-analysis as well as current criticism of his narrow focus on "upper-middle-class European women" and his "assumption that his patients' memories of childhood abuse were imagined." Reef distills Freud's theories into comprehensible descriptions and combines a wealth of primary source material and idiosyncratic details to demonstrate his intellect, character and personality (e.g., to convey his devotion to his wife and six children, "Freud came home to eat lunch with the family every day, unless they were having chicken or cauliflower, two foods he hated"). Archival photographs and prints round out this compelling portrait of the scientist who forever changed society's view of the human mind. Ages 10-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Reef does a fine job of consolidating information to produce a biography that will serve as a reference source. Chapter one sets the tone with a readable, succinct summary of Freud's importance to the study of the mind. In subsequent chapters, discussions of Freud's life, family, work, associates, friendships, and publications are set against the political, social, and economic upheavals of the early 20th century. Quotations from others about him and the black-and-white photographs provide an image of Freud not only as a great thinker, but also as a loving, devoted father and husband. Reef's descriptions of his struggle to see his ideas accepted, his willingness to experiment with new theories, and his writing literally until he died clearly convey a picture of an indefatigable spirit with a passion and zest for every facet of life. Oddly, in the endnotes, Reef identifies direct quotes by repeating the first few words and listing the source-there are no footnote numbers. Overall, the writing is engaging and clear; however, due to the inclusive aspect of this volume, some coverage is superficial. This does not mar its value as a research tool.-Joanne K. Cecere, Monroe-Woodbury High School, Central Valley, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Wrestling Demonsp. 1
Chapter 2 Favorite Sonp. 9
Chapter 3 Becoming a Doctorp. 25
Chapter 4 Working, Hoping, Riskingp. 39
Chapter 5 The Talking Curep. 51
Chapter 6 The "Royal Road"p. 65
Chapter 7 Prophetp. 79
Chapter 8 Polar Nightp. 93
Chapter 9 Abandoning Shipp. 111
Chapter 10 "The Patchwork of Life's Labours"p. 127
Endnotesp. 137
Selected Bibliographyp. 144
Glossaryp. 145
Indexp. 147