Book summary: The Goal


Using her novelist's skill to shape and draw meaning from the experiences of a lifetime, Phyllis Bottome provides us with an autobiography with a rewarding sense of drama and structure as she describes the course run in pursuit of becoming a human being. An involving account of life during the first World War when her new husband was grievously wounded sets the tone for what follows -- and somehow the author maintains a high tide of emotion, as she sets forth high points of less intense nature. Her feeling for place is as ardent as it is for people -- here we see Marseilles in that jubilant mood that came with victory in World War I, the pitifully impoverished Vienna of the early 1920's, Munich in the early 1930's when Nazism was moving from couchant to rampant. Increasingly involved with Adler and his psychology, she provides an intimate view of the man and the movement he spearheaded. Encounters are many and meaningful here -- each moment remembered is invested with passionate life, and there is the underlying view of Europe between the wars, of an individual life shaped to significance.

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