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The Guru, the Bagman and the Sceptic


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The story of the intertwined lives of psychoanalyst Ernest Jones, surgeon Wilfred Trotter and the guru of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud.

About the Author

Seamus O'Mahony spent many years working for the National Health Service in Britain. He now lives in his native Cork, in the south of Ireland. He is the author of The Way We Die Now, which won a BMA Book Award in 2017, Can Medicine Be Cured? and The Ministry of Bodies.


Riotously recalls the rise of psychoanalysis... [a] splendid book * The Telegraph *
A rich, funny and at times sad story about blind faith, sexual obsession, hubris and the pursuit of fame and wealth * Literary Review *
This acerbic group biography takes aim at the 'guru' Freud and his acolytes * The Times *
O'Mahony's account is not just brilliantly researched and invigorating in its even-handedness but also exhilaratingly readable. * James Hamilton-Paterson *
O'Mahony has a great talent for taking the most difficult of subjects - death, the failures of medicine, and now psychoanalysis - and using his gift for storytelling, his eye for the absurd, and his great sense of humour to produce a book that is a joy to read. * Richard Smith, former editor of the British Medical Journal *
In this hugely enjoyable book, O'Mahony describes a seething cesspit of bitterness, folly, and jealous hatred, leavened with unexpected helpings of love, friendship, and curiosity about human nature ... You will laugh a lot, cry a little, and occasionally feel slightly ill. But in the end, never was it so much fun to watch the Freudians slip. * Professor Brendan Kelly *
In this wryly compelling and iconoclastic book Seamus O'Mahony delves into the controversial first half-century of psychoanalysis * Iain Bamforth *
O'Mahony ingeniously explores the interrelationships of these three doctors: Freud, who is still considered by many as one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century; Jones, who is now remembered only as Freud's "bulldog"; and finally, Trotter, a master craftsman and teacher now all but forgotten. * Professor Andrew Lees *
PRAISE FOR SEAMUS O'MAHONY: 'No one writes as clearly and intelligently [...] as Seamus O'Mahony' Sunday Independent. 'What makes this book a delightful, if unsettling read, is not just O'Mahony's scholarly and witty prose, but also his brutal honesty' The Times. 'A searingly honest and humane book that is challenging yet profoundly important' Guardian. 'Mahony leaves no stone unturned, sniffing out cant and hypocrisy wherever he finds it. And his views are as consistently intelligent as they are surprising' Daily Telegraph. 'Sharp and pithy observations' * Irish Times *

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