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To Redeem One Person is to Redeem the World: The Life of Frieda Fromm-Reichmann

Written with unprecedented access to a rich archive of clinical materials and newly discovered records and documents from across Europe and the United States, Hornstein's meticulous and “delightfully lucid” biography definitively reclaims the life of Fromm-Reichmann: the therapist at the core of Joanne Greenberg's I Never Promised You a Rose Garden; the analyst who had an affair with, and later married, her patient Erich Fromm; the maverick in her field who made history as the pivotal figure at the unique and legendary mental hospital Chestnut Lodge.

"Just when we need it most, Gail Hornstein vividly re-creates Frieda Fromm-Reichmann's vision of psychiatry as a healing art. The story of this remarkable woman will inspire patients and families struggling with mental illness and anyone else in need of Fromm-Reichmann's greatest legacy--hope. Hornstein succeeds on every level: the writing is supple, the questions are precisely the right ones, the book is deep without being obscure, and it is thrillingly honest."

–Joanne Greenberg, author of I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

"This book tells of the pioneering work accomplished by one of the greatest of Freud's followers--a brilliant and knowing clinician who gave herself, heart and soul, to her exceedingly vulnerable patients to the point that her psychological wisdom, offered under difficult circumstances, became, over time, a courageous clinical witness: a kind of psychoanalytic soulfulness that has inspired so many of us these past years."

–Robert Coles, Harvard University, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author

"This is a superb biography of an innovative, pioneering, and controversial woman. Fromm-Reichmann, often for the good and occasionally to the detriment, left a deep and original mark on how we think about the treatment of severe mental illness. Hornstein has captured her complexities with astuteness and refreshing clarity."

–Kay Redfield Jamison, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and author of Night Falls Fast and An Unquiet Mind

"This wonderful story of Frieda Fromm-Reichmann will be an eye-opener to those who think of the psychiatry and psychoanalysis of today as narrow and uninspired. Courageously going where others feared, trying to find the ways to work with those who others cast aside, she was an inspiration to many of us. And we can still learn from her profound understandings. Marvelous...Gail Hornstein's book is a pleasure to read."

–Jean Baker Miller, author of Toward a New Psychology of Women

"In clear, graceful prose Gail Hornstein presents the life of a legendary psychoanalyst from the heyday of the movement. This engaging narrative is studded with fascinating cases and thoughtful reflections on the embattled history of psychiatric treatments in the United States."

–Alix Kates Shulman, author of Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen and A Good Enough Daughter

"This first biography of Fromm-Reichmann is as thrilling and moving as Greenberg's now classic book. Thoroughly researched and elegantly written, Hornstein's biography details not only the psychoanalyst's life, personal and professional relationships, and ideas, but also takes on broader issues... dazzling and provocative... a major biography."

Publishers’ Weekly

"Through meticulous use of sources and delightfully lucid, unpretentious prose, Hornstein …recreates Fromm-Reichmann's social milieu and her distinctive piquant personality."

Kirkus Reviews

"Hornstein...argues that Fromm-Reichmann's determination to work with these very ill patients cannot be divorced from her Judaism. She spoke of 'serving people through psychotherapy' as a kind of tzedakah, or giving, a religious commitment to social justice... Hornstein suggests the principle embedded in a Talmudic text, that to redeem one person--to save a life--is to redeem the world."

–T. R. Luhrmann in the New York Times Book Review

"fascinating and comprehensive... Hornstein avoids hagiography... ' Frieda's main technique,' Hornstein writes, 'was waiting, a method she developed so skillfully it looked like magic.' Her 'intuitive ability was the psychic equivalent of perfect pitch'... At a time when little pills are seen as a quick fix for almost everything, this book is well worth taking time to read and contemplate."

The Philadelphia Inquirer

"...opens up a rich history of American psychiatry in the twentieth century... The dramatic tension that makes To Redeem One Person is to Redeem the World so fascinating rests on a narrative strategy that forces readers to anticipate the remarkable cure of Joanne Greenberg, the author of I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. Hornstein introduces Fromm-Reichmann's most famous patient in the first pages of her book but holds readers in suspense until, toward the end, she presents the full story of a young woman's salvation from the horrors of psychosis. The high point of Hornstein's narrative, Greenberg's cure, was also the pinnacle of Fromm-Reichmann's career as a psychotherapist...[the book] delivers a strong message about the persistent uncertainties of diagnosis and treatment of mental illness."

–Mari Jo Buhle in The Women's Review of Books

"Hornstein's biography details a time when a group of mavericks, among the best and brightest in psychiatry... followed Freud in his courage and creativity rather than his behavior or in slavish devotion to particulars of his ideas. ...This biography cogently explores the intellectual and practical dilemmas of the times, dilemmas still not resolved though the pendulum has swung... thoroughly engaging and balanced...exemplary scholarship and lucid writing to closely observe a person (and institution) who (and that) inscribed an important part of the history of therapy in the 20th century. Reading it, we understand better where we are today, even as we close the institutions that shaped us."

–Ruthellen Josselson in Contemporary Psychology

"Gail Hornstein has written a definitive biography... Fromm-Reichmann (1889-1957) is one of the most fascinating and controversial figures in twentieth century psychiatry... a gripping tale... illustrated with many anecdotes and reminiscences from former colleagues and with fascinating clinical vignettes….a fascinating account... Frieda Fromm-Reichmann's optimism shone like a beacon in a very dark landscape... This book... should be prescribed reading for all psychotherapists, psychoanalysts, and psychiatrists. Hornstein has not only produced a well-researched and fascinating biography, but has written it lucidly and well. It makes a compelling read and a salutary one."

Psychoanalysis and History

"Hornstein's work reveals in absorbing detail who Frieda Fromm-Reichmann was both as a person and as a physician... In spite of a biographer's natural sympathy for her subject, Hornstein retains a balanced perspective on this complicated person. Frieda Fromm-Reichmann is viewed as unique, demanding, intuitively brilliant, manipulative, and passionately dedicated to the science of medicine and the art of healing. Her person and work deserve the close attention they receive in this provocative and eminently readable book."

Journal of Religion and Health

"A well-documented awe-inspiring biography... imparts both information and inspiration. It belongs in a broad range of collections including Jewish and medical [material]."

Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

"Although Hornstein never personally knew Frieda... she provides us with an exhaustive research into her life with a balanced presentation of her attributes as well as her faults... This book should appeal to psychotherapists everywhere... "

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases