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Jung: A Biography
Gerhard Wehr
Published by Shambala Publications, Inc. in 1988
Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2002


This book is a masterful tour de force by Wehr. It might aptly be described as "The Collected Life of Carl Jung" because he has assembled the various components of Jung's long and productive life in one concise volume. In this book you will find all your favorite Jung stories, completely fleshed-out and placed into the context of their chronological and developmental place in Jung's life.

The events surrounding the "Seven Sermons of the Dead," his travels to Africa, America, and India, the Gnostic Codices discovery at Nag Hammadi, his relationship with Emma Jung, Toni Wolff, Laurens van der Poste, Barbara Hannah and may others as well are all in here, assembled in a coherent order. Best of all Wehr avoids giving a chronology or history of Jung - rather he serves up a treatise on Jung and his theories using biographical data as the launching pad to provide explanations of the why's and how's to supplement the more common what's and when's of biographies. In thus doing, Wehr does not remove the mystery of Jung by presenting a flattened out "paper Jung" about whom all things are known and listed by categories. Instead he maintains ever the attitude of the iceberg explorer who says, "Here's what we can see of it, but for every visible icy spire, there are enormous mountains of structure extending into the depths." That attitude, much in keeping with Jung's depth psychology, carries through to the end of the book and illuminates every corner of Jung's life into which Wehr shines his light of inquiry.

I found the book intriguing, thought-provoking and inspirational - similar to the feelings I've had while reading Jung's works themselves. This is a biography written as Jung might have written himself - if the book had been about someone else's life.

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