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May 1969

Suicide and Mass Suicide.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;20(5):612. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740170116022

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This collection of essays was first published in 1962 and is now reissued in both cloth and paperback editions. As the author prefaces: "I like the essay form. It liberates me from the limitations of scientific writings. I don't have to succumb to the scholar's compulsion to quote as many fellowprofessionals as possible and thereby wear a mask of sophistication." And so, reading the book is an interesting experience, a pastime. In the process, a number of insights emerge: the best protection against suicide is a positive therapist-patient relationship; therapists struggle with their own death wishes when they help patients with their struggles; the rampaging Nazis had high suicide rates out of guilt; the physician fears the enemy Death and tries to maintain his magic as "guardian of life"; man's inner destructivity is rooted in his drive to live and at the same time to return to the inorganic matrix;

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