Where's the Truth?: Letters and Journals, 1948-1957 by James E. Strick

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Book review

Where's the Truth? is the fourth and final volume of Wilhelm Reich's autobiographical writings, drawn from his diaries, letters, and laboratory notebooks. These writings reveal the details of the outrider scientist's life―his joys and sorrows, his hopes and insecurities―and chronicle his experiments with what he called "orgone energy."

A student of Freud's and a prominent research physician in the early psychoanalytic movement, Reich immigrated to America in 1939 in flight from Nazism, and pursued research about orgone energy functions in the living organism and the atmosphere. Where's the Truth? begins in January 1948, shortly after Reich became a target of the Federal Food and Drug Administration. He had already faced persecution by the U.S. government, having been mistaken by the State Department and the FBI for both a Communist and a Nazi. Starting in 1947, Reich was hounded by the FDA, which, in 1954, obtained an injunction by default against him that enabled it to burn six tons of his published books and research journals, and to ban the use of one of his most important experimental research tools―the orgone energy accumulator. Challenging the right of a court to judge basic scientific research, Reich was imprisoned in March 1957 and died in the U.S. Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, eight months later.

The text gathered here shows Reich's steadfast determination to protect his work. "Where's the truth?" he asked a lawyer, and that question animates this volume and rounds out our understanding of a unique, irrepressible modern figure.


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