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Editorial Reviews

James Hillman, author of the radically famous The Soul's Code, is examined through this magnificently constructed biography, The Life and Ideas of James Hillman: Volume I: The Making of a Psychologist. From his service in the U.S. Navy to his admittance to the renowned C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich, author Dick Russelm manages to tell a brilliantly comprehensive journey of a man. The spectacular accuracy of this piece comes from the numerous interviews with James Hillman and those close to him. And the oratory performance of Fred Sanders lends this remarkable story a polished and authoritative air.

Publisher's Summary

The life of the world’s foremost post-Jungian thinker and best-selling author of The Soul’s Code.

Considered to be the world’s foremost post-Jungian thinker, James Hillman is known as the founder of archetypal psychology and the author of more than 20 books, including the bestselling title The Soul’s Code. In The Making of a Psychologist, we follow Hillman from his youth in the heyday of Atlantic City, through post-war Paris and Dublin, travels in Africa and Kashmir, and onward to Zurich and the Jung Institute, which appointed him its first director of studies in 1960. This first of a two-volume authorized biography is the result of hundreds of hours of interviews with Hillman and others over a seven-year period. Discover how Hillman’s unique psychology was forged through his life experiences and found its basis in the imagination, aesthetics, a return to the Greek pantheon, and the importance of “soul-making,” and gain a better understanding of the mind of one of the most brilliant psychologists of the 20th century.

©2013 Dick Russell (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Life and Ideas of James Hillman, Volume I: The Making of a Psychologist

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What can I say! I loved it!

Yes, the "headline" is trite and doesn't do the experience of this audio journey justice. It is the second book of "revelations" dealing with Jung and his legacy that I've "read" recently. Initially thought it might just be like any other biography ... kind of a "who's up who and who's not paying" combined with a "case history" of ancestry, childhood, school, academia, etc. In fact my first attempt at "reading" it, so to speak, was short! I got bored with the ancestry stuff ... I returned to it 2 weeks ago after listening to "Labyrinths"; about Emma & Carl Jung, Toni Wolff and a cast of players. (I really liked this too).
I did not regret taking it up again. "The Life and Ideas of James Hillman" a second time. I confess I cannot really write an adequate "review" of this book. It has, synchronistically, dovetailed in with my own journey, as I wrestle with the whole idea of "therapy", "pathology", "counselling" and, most importantly, SOUL.
James Hillman, like Jung before him, was a maverick. I nearly wrote "IS" a maverick. He certainly lives on through his books. They are mentors for those of us who are "mavericks" and "outsiders" and who are not content to simply toe the line with the status quo or settle for holding ego positions on ideas and beliefs, just so we can "belong" or "fit in" or, well, you know.
I should not be surprised at the fact that Hillman has, via Dick Russell, revealed, what seems to be a brutally and wonderfully honest account of his experience in Zurich with "the Jungians" ... Like with most charismatic figures, the cult of Jung became entrenched and "The Jungian Institute" was the church ... and of course it goes without saying that many fine and insightful "analysts" have come out of that school. Robert Johnson for one survived it.
What stands out MOST importantly is Hillman's own perceptive observations and understandings about the archetypal forces that were at play with regards his scapegoating. He always took that position, even when having the total force of what seems to be the forces of hell thrown at him; even when his accusers were unable to see their own projections and hypocrisy. And we also are told of how it affected him personally.
Enough from me. Buy the book! You won't be disappointed, especially if you are a maverick!
Well done Mr Russell! When is Part 2 coming out????!!!

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  • D. Raynal
  • 01-06-2013

Every chapter of Hillman's life was a lesson

Where does The Life and Ideas of James Hillman rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of my all time favorites. Though I have read several of Hillman's books I had never fully appreciated the "man" Hillman was until I completed this beautifully written biography. I hated when I completed the audiobook, as it was as though Hillman was fully alive and present with me the entire time. This is a must listen to book if one is at all interested in the twists and turns of life and how these twists and turns help shape each day we live. For me Hillman was a true genius and should be required reading for anyone who wants to answer the question of "who am I".

What other book might you compare The Life and Ideas of James Hillman to and why?

I would compare this book to any GREAT biography that I have been moved by. I experience each life so individualistic that comparisons are difficult but I have read biographies of Freud, Jung, Gandhi, ML King, Meher Baba, Yogananda, T. Roosevelt, and many more and Hillman's is one of my favorites thus far.

What about Fred Sanders’s performance did you like?

I enjoyed his reading as it was neither too slow or too fast. A plesant voice with clear enunciation. I never tired of the sound of his reading.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

My extreme reaction was that I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. Hillman was a truly fascinating man.

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  • Brook
  • 18-02-2015

James Hillman Exposed

What made the experience of listening to The Life and Ideas of James Hillman, Volume I: The Making of a Psychologist the most enjoyable?

When you compose ideas on the edge of the new knowledge emerging in psychology you expose yourself to controversial postures and resistance. This is the comprehensive story of Hillman's adventure into archetypal reasoning and beyond medical models of fixing people's mental disturbances. Much needed reminder in today's pill pushing medical community, Hillman made a firm stand for the value of the journey and pointed to our collective dysfunction as a cause for central concern.

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  • Vicki
  • 21-08-2016

I've listened to it several times.

What did you love best about The Life and Ideas of James Hillman, Volume I: The Making of a Psychologist?

It's very insightful and well-researched about a fascinating character.

What did you like best about this story?

The last third or so - the conflicts in Zurich and the essays at Eranos

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I have listened to this book several times - it's very long. Each time I get more out of it. It's complex.

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  • Joern Kroll
  • 17-04-2013

Excellent! Fascinating!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Life and Ideas of James Hillman to be better than the print version?

This epic tale, meticulously researched, sheds in-depth light not only on James Hillman’s meandering unfurling and the motley Jungians in Zürich during the 50s and 60s, but functions also as a cultural analysis of the spirit of the times. Excellent! Fascinating! I can’t wait for Vol. 2. (review based on audio version only)

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Brilliant renegade swims against the stream, and finds uncharted waters.

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  • Justice Campbell
  • 11-02-2018

Won’t like if not a psychologist

The book reads primarily as a biography with a truly interesting life (my opinion). It weaves in the psychological ideas of the subject - linking them into relevant life events.
It’s not a bad book per se. Simply wasn’t what I hoped - structured masculinity based psychology.

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  • Ronald G. Shenberger
  • 18-11-2021

James Hillman

I selected this reading because I had previously read some of James Hillman's books and wanted to know more about him. This book went into great depth about James' birth in Atlantic City in 1925 and his ancestry, migrations to the United States and his early development. There are details which I could not access in my on ancestry and history. I found is to be a very interesting listen and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in James Hillman. My only disappointment is that this in Volume one and their does not seem to be a volume 2 either in books, kindle or audible. I anticipate a future release.

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  • James E. Hazelwood
  • 27-04-2021

A Thorough Ride through the first half

Whatever one thinks of James Hillman, it’s clear that this biography will flush out the story. For me it gave background to his life as well as his theories. I liked it very much and look forward to the second volume

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  • Rosa A.
  • 14-03-2020

insanely dry

It is a complete account, well researched but so dry and the writing disjointed that it is boring.

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  • Lourens
  • 22-02-2020

The heroes journey of James Hillman

Lovely biographical on the development of Hillman from boy years through formation by the establishment and attempted destruction by an emotional jealous. Hillmans commitment and truth to life prevails and permeated the field and so much more. At the bleeding edge of the discipline to stimulate reflection and growth. Soul is found and placed at the center.

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  • J'oli
  • 01-01-2020

More Life, less ideas

Was expecting more of an anthology than a biography... I listened to the entire book hoping to get some insight into his psychology however it’s just stories of his life, and this book ends right in the middle of his life :/. Well researched and written but the title was a bit deceptive.

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