The Many Roads of the Builders of Psychohistory

by Paul H. Elovitz

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ori Academic Press (October 12, 2021)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 286 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1942431171
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1942431176

The Many Roads of the Builders of Psychohistory brings together the life stories of 37 talented and innovative scholars creating a new way of looking at the world. Psychohistory probes people’s motivation, focusing especially on childhood, coping mechanisms, creativity, dreams, fantasy, overcoming trauma, personality, and unconscious drive. It goes beyond history and psychology to become an amalgam of a multitude of disciplines. The twice Pulitzer Prize-winning author Barbara Tuchman insightfully said, “All good history is psychohistory.” This is the companion volume to Dr. Paul Elovitz’ first history of this dynamic field, The Making of Psychohistory: Origins, Controversies, and Pioneering Contributors (Routledge, 2018).

Early readers of the manuscript have had some very powerful things to say. Professor Pamela Steiner of Harvard reports that “This volume will impress the reader with the rapid and overdue development of the fascinating interdisciplinary field… [of] ‘psychohistory.’” It provides a methodology and knowledge, in her words, “to save ourselves from ourselves.” She goes on to say that as well as being a “needed reference book” that “psychohistory can reinvigorate the study of history and make it as compelling to a truly wide audience” such as college freshmen.

Dr. Paul H. Elovitz is a founding member and past president of the International Psychohistorical Association (1978-) who continues to serve on its leadership council after presenting at all 44 annual conferences.  In 1982 he founded the Psychohistory Forum to nurture psychohistorical research and continues to head its Executive Board.  It has virtual and in-person meetings in New York City as well as at international conferences and in 1994 it started publishing its scholarship with Clio’s Psyche, of which he is Editor-in-Chief. Currently, with a colleague from South Africa, he is starting an international psychobiography research and publication group. Prof. Elovitz is a historian, psychoanalytic researcher, and author of about 400 publications, covering presidential psychobio-graphy, teaching, documenting the field of psychohistory, and much more.  He is trained as a psychoanalyst and practiced for almost 30 years before retiring to devote more time to scholarship and teaching. His psychoanalytic institute recently honored him with the title Research Psychoanalyst. Prior to The Many Roads, he published The Making of Psychohistory (Routledge, 2018) and seven other books (mostly edited).  Before becoming a founding faculty member at Ramapo College, he taught at Temple, Rutgers, and Fairleigh Dickinson universities.

This volume will impress the reader with the rapid and overdue development of the fascinating interdisciplinary field, accurately summed up as ‘psychohistory.’ It contributes to the validation of a method to making sense of past and current history and directs us to use this knowledge to save ourselves from ourselves. Evidence of the interesting differences in substantive focus and conviction as well as personality emerge from very personal sketches of some dominant and distinguished contributors to the field. Psychohistory can reinvigorate the study of history and make it as compelling to a truly wide audience as it should be. College freshmen, for example, would be excited to find this book on their reading list. This book is a needed reference and much more.

— Pamela Steiner, EdD, Harvard School of Public Health, and author of Collective Trauma and the Armenian Genocide (2021)

For 50 years Dr. Elovitz has been a tireless leader, shaping the interdisciplinary field of psychohistory through his seminal workshops, teaching, writing, and editing. In 2021, this authoritative new volume brings together the original contributions of 37 highly diverse contributors who span the fields of history, medicine, the social sciences, and the humanities. Neither the novice nor the experienced psychohistorian can help but learn from this rich volume as some of the key figures within psychohistory explain the why and how of their craft. This book is essential for the psychohistorian’s bookshelf.

— Harold Takooshian, PhD, Professor of Social Psychology at Fordham University, and past President of the American Psychological Association

This book is a ride through the landscape of psychohistory with all its facets, giving insights into the life and work of extraordinary scholars. It is a milestone on the road of psychohistory.

— Claude-Hélène Mayer, Psychology Professor and psychobiographer at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa

This is disarmingly frank about the difficulties psychohistory had and still has in making itself be taken seriously by the academic and psychoanalytical professions, but at the same time cogently able to expose the resistance and opposition as proof of how important this discipline is-perhaps more now than ever before in a time of fear, anxiety, and challenges to the pursuit of truth. Thirty-seven key innovators in this dynamic new field show how their life-histories, professional careers, and creative insights have enhanced the subjects they write about.

— Norman Simms, Founding Editor of Mentalities/Mentalités, and author/editor of 17 books

The path to psychohistory is a struggle with oneself and for oneself. This book brilliantly collected 32 personal testimonials from the founders of the psychohistory, showing their life journeys through personal struggles, major challenges, and accomplishments. Here the reader could hear the voices of the legendary personalities from psychoanalysis theory, sociology, anthropology, feminist and gender studies, to the development of the very essence of psychohistory. It is because of this personal engagement that psychohistory will always be alive, beyond the inter-disciplinary frontiers, and focused on the future.

— Olga Shutova, PhD, director of the Laboratoire de recherche sur Francysk Skaryna and former professor at Belarusian State University

We can learn from their ‘study of lives’ how psychohistory teaches us to process unconscious effects of trauma in our lives. The Many Roads is a testimony of the heroism and courage of human lives in the context of history. As Dr. Elovitz summaries in his psychobiography how he moved from emotional childhood struggle to intellectual leadership, that is typical of psychohistorians: ‘Determination; my love of history, psychoanalysis, and psychohistory; my lengthy personal and group analyses; and an unyielding work ethic.

— Krystyna Sanderson, PsyD, psychoanalyst in New York City

It captures the link between the history one has made and the history that has made you. Beyond personal journeys, this book demonstrates the fruitfulness of research taking place in the space of encounter between history and psychoanalysis.

— Brigitte Demeure, PhD, Société française de psychohistoire

The book reveals a colorful landscape of an international network of scholars standing in the tradition of Sigmund Freud, Alice Miller, Hannah Arendt, Lloyd deMause, and many others, pioneers in applying psychology on past and ongoing history. The contributed articles also delineate how—often in a paradigmatic way—psychohistorians have managed to achieve improvements in their professional field, helping societies to become less violent. Sustainable social developments do rely on such individuals found in The Many Roads of the Builders of Psychohistory, a roadshow of transdisciplinary science.

— Christian Lackner, PhD, Center for Social Competence and Organizational Learning at the Klagenfurt University’s Department for Organizational Development and Group Dynamics

Our contributors and scholars generally tend to graft psychohistory as the latest branch springing from Freud’s psychoanalytic tree trunk of in-depth psychological endeavors. Granted, applications among colleagues also cultivated their own garden while charting new routes—for examples, Jung, Otto Rank, and closer to home, Lloyd deMause. The result is often a hybrid enrichment of orthodoxy. Paul’s contributions lay the ground-work for rethinking the ways our field may proceed. His professional bona-fides coincide with the early contributors to psychoanalysis who were aligned with psychiatry, philosophy, social sciences, and history, serving to build bridges for their connecting roadways. As a practicing insider, he aspires to cover the ‘breadth, depth, and special insights’ by way of broadening the range of inquiry while also drawing on personal relationships. Besides his capacities of contributor and editor, he both reviews other’s works and purveys his own. To switch metaphors, he is both a coach on the bench and a player on the field. Thus affirming scholarly dimensions embedded in material hitherto overlooked, he enlists the observer as part of the observed and in so doing, forges engaging new pathways.

— Dan Dervin, PhD, emeritus professor at the University of Mary Washington, a veteran and prolific psychohistorian, and author of The Digital Child: The Evolution of Inwardness in the Histories of Childhood (2018)




Historians in the Vanguard of Psychohistory

My Pioneering Road Traveled as a Psychohistorian
By: Peter Loewenberg

From History to Psychohistory: A Personal Journey Revisited
By: David R. Beisel

Rudolph Binion’s Psychohistory Workshop: Frau Lou:

Nietzsche’s Wayward Disciple
By: Deborah Hayden

Researching Health and Therapy in Nazi Germany
By: Geoffrey Cocks

The Struggle to Understand My Road to Psychohistory: Moving Away from Anxiety, a Low Self-Image, and Childhood Fears to a Life of Intellectual Leadership
By: Paul H. Elovitz

Lawrence J. Friedman’s Art of Fusing History and Psychology
By: Mark I. West

From Studying Freud to Psychohistorical Leadership
By: Ken Fuchsman

Applying History and Psychohistory as a Business Consultant
By: Jack Fitzpatrick

My Path to Using Psychohistory as an American Historian
By: Martin H. Quitt

My Circuitous Route to Psychohistory
By: Peter W. Petschauer

Searching for the French Revolution, Mandela, and Beyond
By: Barry Shapiro

A Memoir of Psychohistory
By: Charles B. Strozier

Psychologists as Psychohistorians

My Journey as a Psychobiographer
By: James William Anderson

The Origins of My Psychohistorical Scholarship
By: Herbert Barry III

My Development as a Psychohistorian
By: Dan Burston

How the Holocaust and Feminism Led Me to Become a Psychohistorian
By: Eva Fogelman

My Road to Group Psychohistory
By: John Jacob Hartman

Coming to Terms with Psychohistory
By: Juhani Ihanus

Psychohistory in the United Kingdom
By: Brett Kahr

A Winding Road to Psychobiography and Psychohistory
By: Joseph G. Ponterotto

Avner Falk: A Prolific Israeli Psychohistorian
By: Joyce M. Rosenberg

Changing Visions of Psychology and Life Histories: A Personal Journey
By: William McKinley Runyan

The Far-Reaching Effects of Trauma and the Power of Humor
By: Burton Norman Seitler

From Medicine to Psychohistory

My Life as a Psychohistorian Working for Peace
By: Vamık Volkan

My Life in Applied Psychoanalysis
By: Arnold D. Richards

Judith Kestenberg: A Psychohistorical Advocate for Holocaust  Child Survivors and Their Children
By: Eva Fogelman

Ralph Colp: My Darwinian Psychohistorian and Psychiatrist Father
By: Judith Colp Rubin

Living and Dreaming the Traumatic History of My Parents: My Road to Psychohistory
By: Inna Rozentsvit

From Anthropology and Political Science to Psychohistory

My Learning Journey as a Psychologist: From Behaviorism to Psychohistory
By: Michael Maccoby

Psychohistory: A Road I Did Not Know I Would Take
By: Howard F. Stein

Trauma, Psychohistory, and Humane Understanding:  An Interview with C. Fred Alford
By: Matthew H. Bowker

From Philosophy, Literature, and Social Work

The Passion of Elisabeth Young-Bruehl
By: Judith Harris

Achieving a Psychohistorical Worldview
By: Denis O’Keefe

Using Psychoanalysis to Understand Irrationality
By: Robert Samuels

The Illusion
By: Howard H. Covitz

Independent Scholars Doing Psychohistory

Dig Where You Stand!
By: Heinrich J. Reiß (Reiss)

A Former Student’s Experience in Psychohistory
By: David Cifelli

Building Psychohistory in France and Switzerland
By: Marc-André Cotton

Final Thoughts

About the Contributors


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