Sunday, April 14, 2013

Fromm biographer on Book TV

Lawrence J. Friedman, author of The Lives of Erich Fromm: Love’s Prophet, was on Book TV today (you can watch here).

The biography was interesting. Very different book than I’d have written (I can say this with some confidence, because I’m writing my own book about Fromm and it is indeed very different :)), and I disagree with his take on a number of issues,* but I learned quite a bit new about Fromm.

I'd especially been unaware of the extent of his political activism. This talk is sponsored by Amnesty International, so Friedman focuses particularly on Fromm’s central role in the founding and funding of AI. I’d known nothing about it – Fromm’s name isn’t even in the index of Keepers of the Flame -

or about his involvement with (and influence on) the Kennedy administration and international politics.

The talk is decent, too. At one point in the Q&A a woman notes that she’s never heard about Fromm in psychology classes and asks why this might be, and Friedman replies that while Fromm’s books continue to be of interest around the world, the US stands out as a country where he’s not taught in psychology. The reason? “Psychology has lost its moorings, I think.” Too damn true.

*He adores Fromm’s You Shall Be As Gods, while I…let’s say I have a few problems with it.

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