Sigmund Freud’s vibrant life in Vienna and narrow escape from the Gestapo are recounted in this entertaining history. Journalist Nagorski (1941) reveals that Freud, who was 81 years old and struggling with cancer when Nazi Germany annexed Austria in March 1938, was in deep denial of the danger he faced as a Jew and as the founder of psychoanalysis, which the Nazis deemed “Jewish pseudoscience.” Nagorski chronicles Freud’s modest upbringing, enrollment in the University of Vienna in 1873, swift rise to academic fame, marriage to Martha Bernays, and the intense and often toxic friendships he forged with his devotees. Though Freud’s relationships with Carl Jung and Albert Einstein are discussed, the focus is on those credited with getting him out of Europe, including Welsh psychoanalyst Ernest Jones; William Bullitt, the U.S. ambassador to France and a patient of Freud’s; and European socialite Marie Bonaparte. Nagorski draws vivid profiles of these and other acquaintances, shares intriguing tidbits about Freud’s eccentricities, and dramatically recounts how Freud, his wife, and his daughter escaped to London. The result is an invigorating look at a lesser-known chapter of Freud’s well-documented life. Agent: Robert Gottlieb, Trident Media Group.
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