People of the Lie Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of People of the Lie

Dr Peck, educated at Harvard and Case Western Reserve, has held government posts and is now medical director of New Milford Hospital Mental Health Clinic, Connecticut. His influences include Erich Fromm, Malachi Martin, C.S. Lewis, Martin Buber, and even J.R.R. Tolkien. In this book he shares some of his lifetime insights into human nature. He does for psychiatry and psychotherapy what few of its practitioners are able to do, and what even fewer of those who are able are prepared to do. These are the case studies and analyses of those who refuse to fit into standard psychological and psychiatric categories. (It goes almost without saying that he maintains confidentiality, and that all names and places are disguised to protect people.) These people are the small percentage of those who go beyond 'normal' problems into extreme forms. In the medical jargon, it requires a 'multiple model' to comprehend their situation. In the spirit of the physicists who no longer have a problem accepting light as a wave and a particle, he takes what is effectively a multi-disciplinary approach.
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He takes a risk - he admits in the introductory chapter that unlike his six million best-seller 'The Road Less Travelled', that 'This is not a nice book.' Rather it is fundamental truth about people; necessarily his approach is scientific, but also philosophical and judgmental. It is significant that the book is promoted on the back cover not by another professional psychiatrist, but by the novelist Madeleine L'Engle. The first case study is a standard case - a salesman with obsessive-compulsive neurosis which revolves around thoughts of death. But he explains how he is on the cusp of greater difficulties. The later cases involve depression, narcissism, and a key concept laziness. He ends with a controversial chapter on the South Vietnam Task Force Barker MyLai massacre in 1968. All in all, a seminal and eye-opening work.
The review of this Book prepared by Michael JR Jose

Chapter Analysis of People of the Lie

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Plot & Themes

Phys disability/mental struggle?    -   Yes Struggle with    -   mental illness    -   general search for meaning

Subject of Biography

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   psychiatrist Ethnicity    -   White Nationality    -   American


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   2 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast City?    -   Yes Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   hostile, like Gomer Pyle on steroids Misc setting    -   scientific labs Century:    -   1980's-Present

Writing Style

Book makes you feel?    -   challenged Pictures/Illustrations?    -   None How much dialogue in bio?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog How much of bio focuses on most famous period of life?    -   51%-75% of book

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M. Scott Peck Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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