The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

Freud’s Mistress




Not being a fan of heavy biographies but curious about historical figures, I loved Freud’s Mistress (A) by Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman. Written very much like the Paris Wife and Z, it brings the story of Freud and his mistress Minna Bernays to life.

In 2006 a ledger was found that confirmed that Freud stayed at a hotel for several days with his “wife”. It was not his wife Martha but Minna, Martha’s sister who actually stayed with him those days.  Based on this ledger and their extensive research authors Mack and Kaufman wrote this engaging story about Sigmund Freud and Minna Bernays.

The father of physco therapy lived by a unique set of rules. Believing that all mental trials and tribulations were sexually related, he certainly saw to it that his needs were met.  He sought the company of Minna when he needed to discuss his work, sought her out when he wanted female company and cared very little if his wife found out.  He smoked cigars incessantly, spent larges sums of money on the purchase of antiquities and used cocaine freely and often.

Freud’s Mistress allows the reader a glimpse of the man at the onset of his discoveries.  It paints an unexpected picture of a highly respected historical figure. His character flaws and genius show him to be human and vulnerable. I think many will enjoy this easy and enlightening read.





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