reviews for 'In the Mind Fields'

...Ms. Schwartz is onto something...she’s refreshingly immune to neuroscience’s charms...Just as Ms. Schwartz sees what’s suspect about neuroscience, she sees what’s still valuable — or better yet, romantic and fabulous — about Freud, celebrating his nerve, humor and visionary theory of mind. She reminds us that he was far looser and more generous than history remembers him (or than his successors have ever been), letting his dog Yofi tear through his office during his sessions and writing 'spry, affectionate notes' to his favorite patients. Ms. Schwartz, in other words, is skeptical where others are swooning and swooning where others are skeptical. These are wonderful qualities in a science writer...Schwartz writes with imagination and wit....

-Jennifer Senior, The New York Times

“In the Mind Fields” is a refreshingly honest read…[Schwartz] is open-minded, exploratory, cautious, and skeptical at once . . .  In the Mind Fields” is both a smart exploration of a complicated subject and an excellent read. Freud would be proud.”

-Hope Reese, the Chicago Tribune

“Thoughtful....calls to mind Janet Malcolm’s riveting book, ‘In the Freud Archives’....[a] thorough review of key neuroscientific findings over the last few decades....Indeed, it’s hard to dispute her contention that if brain researchers plan to conquer the scourge of mental illness, they will have to pay more attention to the mind.”

- Joshua Kendall, Los Angeles Times

"More than just a survey of the fields of neuroscience and psychoanalysis, this compelling book presents readers with the stories behind the science. Schwartz depicts ongoing attempts to unite the seemingly disparate disciplines of neuroscience, in which she has a degree, and psychoanalysis—the former founded on proof, the latter sometimes criticized for its apparent absence. Yet both disciplines aim, in their varying ways, to understand the human mind."

- publishers weekly

“The journey presented in this sharp narrative makes somewhat lofty topics accessible as seems to be a trend in modern science writing. Ultimately, the author’s knowledge gives those interested in brain studies and the process of thought an exciting case study of sorts. Schwartz engages the reader with humorous stories of the leading professionals she encounters, providing a thorough, thoughtful account.” 


“In the Mind Fields is a brilliant and enthralling exploration of a scientific and philosophical conundrum that has preoccupied thinkers from Descartes to Freud to Oliver Sacks: the relationship between brain and mind. Weaving together intellectual history, science reporting, bits of memoir, and a deep reservoir of humane sympathy, Casey Schwartz brings readers along with her on a bracing quest to bridge psychoanalysis and neuroscience. A work of remarkable brio, wisdom, and wit, with gems of insight shimmering on nearly every page.”


Editor of The Atlantic Magazine and the author
Of My Age Of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, And The Search For Peace Of Mind

“If psychoanalysis studies the brain as mind and neuroscience studies the mind as brain, can they somehow learn to work together to help us understand who we are? Casey Schwartz takes us on a charming, personal quest to reconcile hard to reconcile views—watching, fascinated, as the brain, maybe the most unfathomable thing in the universe, tries to fathom itself.” 


“For too long, we’ve had to choose between the mind and the brain, between a psychodynamic vocabulary and a neuroscientific one.  In this generous, insightful, witty book, Casey Schwartz looks at the steep cost of that dichotomous construct.  Her meticulous reporting and lucid reasoning resolve seemingly intractable dialectics with the sheer grace of common sense.”


author of Far From The Tree

“Skeptics beware. Casey Schwartz’s reports from the world of neuropsychoanalysis are anything but dull. Her nimble prose, mordant observations, penetrating comments, and unerring sense for the absurd as well as the poignant, make In the Mind Fields a deeply engaging book about a fascinating new discipline.”


author of The Shaking Woman Or A History Of My Nerves